Conference introduces advancements in chronic obstructive lung disease treatment

By Thy An   May 3, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
The Vietnam Respiratory Association and AstraZeneca Vietnam has collaborated to organize a scientific conference titled "Key to achieving triple goals in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment in Vietnam."

The conference, part of a series of scientific gatherings held since March and April, aims to introduce nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals nationwide to new and advanced solutions to address gaps in COPD treatment.

The objective is to enhance treatment effectiveness and alleviate the burden on patients.

Globally, there are an estimated 392 million cases of COPD, with three-quarters of them residing in low- and middle-income countries.

COPD ranks as the third-leading cause of mortality worldwide, resulting in approximately 3 million deaths annually.

In Vietnam, the burden of COPD is a significant concern within the respiratory healthcare sector.

The prevalence of COPD among individuals aged over 40 is 4.2%, with 46% of patients experiencing exacerbations in the previous year. Furthermore, COPD stands as the fourth leading cause of mortality in the country.

The above situation is also a concern for leading respiratory experts. Professor Dr. Ngo Quy Chau, President of the Vietnam Respiratory Association, said that currently, in Vietnam, there are still many COPD patients experiencing exacerbations and symptoms.

Therefore, doctors need to identify high-risk patients early based on their history of exacerbations and symptoms to provide them with advanced and effective therapies.

Professor Dr. Ngo Quy Chau, President of the Vietnam Respiratory Association. Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca

Professor Dr. Ngo Quy Chau, President of the Vietnam Respiratory Association. Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca

During the conference, experts focused on discussing the burdens and unresolved problems with current therapies, especially reducing mortality in COPD patients.

According to GOLD 2023 (The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease), the closed triple therapy ICS/LABA/LAMA in one inhaler is recommended and proven to reduce all-cause mortality compared to the LABA/LAMA duo therapy.

Associate Professor Dr. Richard Russell, Clinical Director, West Hampshire Integrated Respiratory Service, Respiratory Specialist at the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, University of Oxford, provided further evidence of the therapy's effectiveness and safety profile of the closed triple therapy of Budesonide/Glycopyrronium/Formoterol from multicenter, multinational, double-blind, randomized, controlled, parallel-group studies.

The advanced Aerosphere technology helps distribute active ingredients more effectively and stably throughout the entire lung, thereby reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and significantly reducing moderate to severe exacerbations compared to the ICS/LABA and LABA/LAMA duo therapies.

Additionally, the all-cause mortality risks are 49% lower than LABA/LAMA duo therapy.

In agreement with the experts, Associate Professor Tran Van Ngoc, President of the Ho Chi Minh City Respiratory Society, and Associate Professor Dr. Le Thi Tuyet Lan, President of the Society of Asthma, Allergy, and Clinical Immunology and Vice President of the Vietnam Respiratory Association, commented that closed triple therapy represents a significant advancement, enhancing patients’ compliance and treatment success rates.

This new therapy, containing three very familiar components that have been utilized in COPD treatment in Vietnam, will provide healthcare professionals with additional treatment options.

These medications are crucial, as emphasized by GOLD 2023, which highlights the goal of reducing mortality alongside symptom alleviation, exacerbation reduction, and disease progression prevention in COPD treatment and management.

According to Atul Tandon, General Director of AstraZeneca Vietnam, COPD's impact extends far beyond breathing difficulties.

As studies have shown, the disease's link to increased risks of heart attacks and mortality underscores the urgent need to prioritize COPD alongside other chronic illnesses like heart disease and lung cancer.

"Today, AstraZeneca showcases our research and development efforts that are delivering potentially life-changing solutions for patients. This advancement reflects our unwavering commitment to significantly contribute to improved asthma and COPD management in Vietnam, ultimately fostering a more sustainable healthcare system for the Vietnamese people."

Delegates at the conference. Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca

Delegates at the conference. Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca

Operated in Vietnam since 1994, over the past 30 years, AstraZeneca has partnered with the Ministry of Health, medical associations, and industry partners to facilitate scientific exchanges and implement many impactful programs aiming at enhancing awareness, prevention, and early detection of diseases.

A typical example is the "Healthy Lung Program," designed to elevate the quality of outpatient management for asthma, COPD, and lung cancer.

To date, the program has facilitated the establishment and operation of more than 155 UMACs (Unit of Management for Asthma and COPD) in 51 provinces and cities, enhancing the capacity of healthcare workers in asthma and COPD management.

Chronic obstructive lung disease is a progressive lung condition that worsens over time and poses a threat to patients’ lives.

The disease causes breathing difficulties, leading to a worsening condition and serious complications. While COPD cannot be cured, proper treatment can alleviate symptoms, improve life quality, and reduce mortality risks.

According to healthcare experts, the primary cause of COPD is exposure to tobacco smoke (whether through active smoking or passive smoking), which accounts for three out of four cases of the disease.

Other risk factors include exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as dust and fumes generated during manufacturing processes. Many cases of COPD can be prevented by abstaining from smoking or quitting smoking early.

The Vietnam Lung Association, formerly known as the Vietnam Anti-Tuberculosis Association, is a professional organization established under Decision No. 66/NV in March 1961, by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the direction of Doctor Pham Ngoc Thach.

Initially, it made significant contributions to the fight against tuberculosis and lung diseases.

As part of its development process, the Vietnam Anti-Tuberculosis Association was renamed the Vietnam Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Association under Decision No. 602/QD-BNV inMay2008, by the Ministry of Home Affairs, reflecting the increasing urgency of integrating activities related to anti-tuberculosis and lung diseases.

Presently, with Resolution No. 6 of the XII Central Committee, there is a clear emphasis on the need to end tuberculosis by 2030.

The mobilization of all social and professional resources for this endeavor has become more pressing than ever before.

The Vietnam Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Association was renamed the Vietnam Lung Association (VILA) under Decision No. 81/QD-BNV dated Jan. 25, 2019.

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