Weleda on COVID-19: A differentiated view

An interview with Executive Board members Nataliya Yarmolenko and Aldo Ammendola.

Our stance on the coronavirus, the COVID-19 vaccine, and how to stay healthy through the pandemic.

What is Weleda’s position on COVID-19?

Aldo Ammendola: We expressly reject all claims that deny or disinform about COVID-19, as well as related conspiracy theories. Our company is science-based and takes the facts of the coronavirus pandemic very seriously. At the same time, it has become clear to us that many problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic, require a differentiated approach. The anthroposophic Havelhöhe Community Hospital in Berlin, which also has a COVID-19 intensive care unit, has made us directly aware of the serious courses this disease can take. The hospital has also demonstrated how standard therapies can be supplemented individually in a meaningful way. People are individuals. This is something we must not forget when it comes to comprehensive measures.

Nataliya Yarmolenko: We expressly reject all activities that work against democracy or uphold right-wing extremist goals. This is also the position of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum and the IVAA (International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations). What we would also like to see, however, is a culture of dialogue that allows for differentiation and listens to different scientific perspectives.

What is Weleda’s position on vaccinations against COVID-19?

AA: Vaccines are an important component in the fight against infectious diseases, which is why we are fundamentally in favour of vaccines against COVID-19. However, we refrain from recommending vaccination, even for our employees. People should be free to decide whether they want to be vaccinated.

NY: COVID-19 poses a major challenge to humanity. Vaccines are helping to manage this challenge, and at Weleda we are very grateful that a variety of vaccines are now available. But Sars-CoV-2 will not be the last pandemic we have to deal with. Factory farming, human expansion into previously untouched natural areas, and the ongoing loss of biodiversity will enable further pathogens to spread to humans. This is where we, as a society, should start, in order to strengthen the long-term resilience of ecosystems and of the humans who rely on them. Weleda is working to do this, for example, through sustainable raw material extraction and organic and biodynamic cultivation projects.

How can we support our own immune system to get through a pandemic in good health?

NY: A lot of things can contribute to a healthy lifestyle: plenty of exercise, preferably in the fresh air and sunlight, getting enough sleep, a healthy diet and taking time to eat, instead of rushing through meals. Various products in the Weleda range have an immune-boosting effect, with ingredients such as sea buckthorn and blackthorn (sloe). Studies in psychoneuroimmunology have shown that both our mental and physical condition depend on how we live, work and whether we treat each other with appreciation. All these aspects also shape our corporate culture at Weleda, and they are important to us in maintaining and promoting the health of our employees.

AA: To date, there is no approved drug for the treatment of COVID-19. Many approaches are in the development phase, but the public sector has failed to provide funding on a scale similar to that for vaccine development. Many companies therefore have to finance this work on their own. Weleda will also be investing millions of euros in various pharmaceutical research and development projects over the next few years.

Nataliya Yarmolenko is physician and, as Executive Board member, responsible for the Market Division. Aldo Ammendola is micro- and molecular biologist and as Executive Board member responsible for Research and Development.