BRF receives donation from Tencent of 20,000 KN95 respirator masks for distribution to healthcare settings in Northwest Louisiana  

BRF (formerly the Biomedical Research Foundation) has received a donation of 20,000 KN95 respirator masks from Tencent, a leading global technology company which has mobilized to source and supply personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to areas hard hit by COVID-19.

BRF is serving as an intermediary to distribute the masks to healthcare settings in Northwest Louisiana with the greatest need.

The essential masks, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for healthcare workers and medical first responders, made their way to Northwest Louisiana by way of a relationship between BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) portfolio and media/analytics company Asteri and BRF leadership. Asteri co-founder and CEO Steve Gray had long-standing ties to several Tencent executives and asked if the company would consider making a donation of medical supplies to the Shreveport area, which accounts for more than 1,540 of North Louisiana’s COVID-19 cases, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. More than 100 Shreveport area deaths had been related to the virus as of Friday, May 1. More than 28,000 cases had been reported statewide.

Tencent also will send a donation of hundreds of thousands of the masks to the New Orleans area in South Louisiana.

“We’re grateful for the efforts by Steve and the donation and efforts of Tencent to provide these much-needed supplies to our region. It is an honor for BRF to be a part of this effort. The eyes of the United States and world have been on Louisiana as we battle COVID-19. Cases in relation to our population have ranked us in the hardest hit states,” said John F. George Jr., M.D., BRF president and CEO.

“Thanks to Governor John Bel Edwards’ advocacy at the federal level and our State and medical communities’ response, we have secured some of the medical supplies we need to fight the virus. But more has been needed, and this donation helps tremendously.”

Among those to receive masks from the Northwest Louisiana donation are David Raines Community Health Centers and MLK Health Center & Pharmacy, which continue to provide essential care to at risk populations.

“A large percentage of the patients seen in our community health centers are at great risk. These masks will ensure that we are able to provide essential care to our community in a safer setting,” said Willie C. White, David Raines Community Health Centers CEO. “We thank the BRF for their efforts to help curb the impact of COVID-19 on our healthcare providers and patients.”

BRF’s Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy (CMIT), which is performing essential scans and therapies, also received masks, along with BRF’s Envision Research, which continues to manage clinical trials in North Louisiana clinics.

About BRF
BRF is an economic development organization establishing North Louisiana as a preferred destination for high growth initiatives. Diversifying the region’s economy is its mission. It fulfills this mission through initiatives that support community, regional and national needs in health and medicine, resources for entrepreneurs and the development of a science and technology-based workforce.