Disease prevention and treatment

What is Disease prevention and treatment at AstraZeneca?

Company activities aimed at preventing the onset and progression of diseases (including non-communicable diseases).


Our approach

While disease prevention and treatment are two distinct methods that occur along a continuum to improve health, many of our tactics include elements of both. Because prevention and treatment are outcomes of our efforts as a healthcare company, we can connect them to many of our sustainability endeavours. For example, we put our commitment to health into action through internal programmes with our workforce, as well as external programmes with our patients and partners. See more in Investments in health systems and Workforce wellbeing and safety.

Our targets and progress

Our stories

Young Health Programme

In 2018, our Young Health Programme reached more than 3 million young people with health information on NCDs and risk behaviours and trained more than 18,000 peer educators and healthcare workers. In partnership with local governmental and non-governmental groups, we launched new programmes in Indonesia, Serbia, Turkey and Australia and approved the development of new programmes in Vietnam, Myanmar, Mexico and Panama. This brings the total number of developing and active Young Health Programme (YHP) initiatives to 18.

We supported our partners, NCD Child and Plan International, as they advocated for the inclusion of adolescent health and NCD prevention in the Political Declaration on NCDs and at the Third UN High-level Meeting on NCDs. We continued to mentor and support the development of young global health leaders by sending a delegation of 20 young people to the One Young World Summit in The Hague. YHP won Community Investment Programme of the Year at Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards. Learn more on our YHP website

Driving patient-centric solutions

AstraZeneca is committed to finding solutions that put our patients first, through innovation and collaboration. In this spirit, we held the First International Future Healthcare Forum in Cambridge, UK. This event brought together over 70 global experts in healthcare innovation from industry, academia and government institutions to discuss innovation in life sciences at key research hubs around the world. This will become an annual event, which will create a best-in-class environment for collaboration and allow these hubs, as well as others that come on board, to pursue opportunities that drive the next wave of biomedical innovation.

Early Action in Diabetes policy initiative

Diabetes is one of the most common NCDs globally. To address this NCD, in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation, the World Heart Federation and Primary Care Diabetes Europe, we created the Global Diabetes Policy Forum in 2014. The forum brings together experts from more than 20 countries to build momentum for policy changes to improve care for people with type 2 diabetes. At a summit in Copenhagen, representatives from 15 countries developed strategic roadmaps to reduce the burden of diabetes. Our overarching goal is to improve policymaking at a national level, to address this public health concern that contributes to 13% of healthcare spending today and could impact 693 million people worldwide by 2045.1

Rapid response to Ebola

An Ebola outbreak between 2013 and 2016 took the lives of over 11,300 people in a West African epidemic. Two consecutive Ebola outbreaks were declared in 2018 and continue to take lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). MedImmune was able to participate in the outbreak response effort by working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to manufacture the monoclonal antibody mAb114 and to later provide it to treat Ebola-infected patients at the DRC’s request. NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, in collaboration with the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale, the Department of Defense (DARPA, DoD) and Humabs BioMed, isolated mAb114 from a human survivor of the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, DRC. MedImmune conducted process development and GLP toxicology and manufactured the material for clinical studies of mAb114 (Phase 1). This material has also been shipped to the DRC to be administered under an Expanded Access Protocol and a Randomised Controlled Trial currently being conducted in the DRC, with assistance from the World Health Organization. The Vaccine Research Center and DoD are manufacturing additional lots of mAb114, following tech transfer of the process, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of mAb114 for clinical studies.