Impact of COVID-19 on CVDs

Interview with Mathias Egermark

Impact of COVID-19 on CVDs


In this interview we spoke to Mathias Egermark - during his role as a Lifecycle Leader Cardiac at Roche Diagnostics. Mathias, a medical doctor and clinical practitioner by training, has spent more than 5 years being at the forefront of high medical value solutions development in Roche. "For humanity, 2020 has been a year of COVID-19", he reflects. It shocked and paralyzed the world, but also taught us a lot of valuable lessons that will continue to impact our professional and personal lives in the upcoming years. 

In-vitro diagnostics (IVDs) were an essential component of healthcare systems’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak. IVDs and biomarker testing became critically important in preventing further spread of the virus while also identifying infected patients at highest risk of severe complications.

These learnings are also applicable in management of non-contagious diseases like cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the number one cause of deaths globally and also has the highest cost burden to the healthcare system. With an ageing population and rise in the prevalence of risk factors and chronic conditions, it is increasingly important to identify patients at risk of CVD and to intervene early to prevent severe complications in the future. By applying the knowledge gained during this difficult year, we can significantly better(/refine) our healthcare systems and improve patient care and outcomes.


A prospective look into cardiac care


Finding patients with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and starting their disease management early can lead to improved efficiency and outcomes in cardiac care. The combination of wet biomarkers and digital technology can revolutionise the prevention and management of CVD and can optimise patient care and well-being.

Currently, wet biomarkers in IVD account for 70% of decisions in cardiology. The role of digital technologies, like wearable ECGs and apps for patient management and remote health monitoring, will continue to increase in the upcoming years. Combining wet biomarkers and digital technology can enable better informed decision making by the HCPs and lead to tailored treatment decisions for individual patients.

In the next 5 years, solutions will include not only high quality biomarkers (digital, wet and novel biomarkers) and testing assays but also holistic solutions for cardiac disease prevention, diagnosis and monitoring. Incorporating these solutions and decision making tools in cardiac care will lead to a reduction in adverse patient outcomes (stroke incidences, CVD complications in Diabetes Mellitus (DM) patients). This will be a big accomplishment for the healthcare systems and most importantly for the patients and their families.

Key facts
  • Covid-19 taught us to organize our personal, professional and social lives differently than before.
  • On  a personal note, Mathias talks about moving to Singapore after working closely with the team in Roche Rotkreuz for five years. 
  • During the pandemic, the worldwide response to COVID-19 has proven the importance of diagnostic testing and demonstrated its critical role as guidance in healthcare decision making. 
  • Awareness on the importance and value of diagnostic testing should be extended to other disease areas like cardiovascular diseases to prevent severe complications, debilitating disability or death in the future.