Former advisor of the US President has shared ‘tips” of fast response with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, United States, and Israel
“We want to harvest fruit, yet they must be the outcome of seeds planted from many decades ago. It takes us to experience many generations before we can collect essential “materials” to create a breakthrough in scientific inventions in order to control COVID-19 or other dangerous diseases," Professor Ezekiel Emanuel said at the Science Dialogue held online by VinFuture Foundation.
Scientific achievement is only obtained when there is a long term research foundation
VinFuture Foundation has officially launched a series of monthly Science Dialogues, starting from September to December 2021, on a global scale. This activity aims to bring science and technology closer to the people, contributing to raising awareness of the role of science towards the Sustainable Development Goals, therefore, it can promote research and breakthrough initiatives in the community.
The topic of the first dialogue is “How is science changing global health?” with the presence of leading scientists in the field of heath management in the world such as Professor Ezekiel Emanuel (Vice Principal in charge of global affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, US), Professor Alta Schutte (Head of the research team on Cardiology, Vascularity and Metabolism at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New South Wales, Australia), etc. There are many important ideas discussed in order to protect the health of the entire population during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Professor Emanuel, experiences from developed countries can offer many lessons for this matter. The United States and United Kingdom are two examples demonstrating the importance of basic science in researching and rapidly putting into production vaccines against COVID-19.
The professor, currently a Special Advisor of General Director of World Health Organization, and once a member of the incumbent US President Joe Biden's COVID-19 task force, took an example in the US, as the first research on mRNA vaccines started more than three decades ago. However, only when COVID-19 started, has it been able to be developed in a short time which is about 10 months. These innovations do not come naturally while they are based on the foundation of a whole ecosystem including academies, researchers, companies, investors and regulatory agencies. That ecosystem has been growing for decades and is able to make a rapid improvement when the situation arises.
Similarly, he also showed the successes of the United Kingdom when it has been able to provide scientific proof and effective treatment regimens within 100 days since COVID-19 appeared in this country.
“We want to harvest fruit, yet they must be the outcome of seeds planted from many decades ago. It takes us experience many generations before we can collect essential materials to create a breakthroughs in scientific innovations in order to control COVID-19 or other dangerous diseases,” he said.
However, Professor Emanuel also said that, in spite of having fast movement in producing COVID-19 vaccines thanks to achievements in research, the health sector in the United States shows confusion and a shortage of synchronous cooperation in the battle against the pandemic. “The capability of fighting against pandemic in reality has been vital. We need a methodical strategy, applied not only to a temporary crisis like COVID-19, but also to public health issues. Health management systems of all countries need to be better prepared regardless of rich countries or countries with limited resources,” he said.
According to him, the key issue is a tight and proactive disease surveillance system at the national as well as global scale.
“Israel is a probably typical example of systematic citizen data management. What could be better than that? The authority will be able to know how its citizens are responding to vaccines, what happens when they are not vaccinated, who are sick, etc.,” he said.
Data Science will help defeat dangers like COVID-19 in the future
Holding the same opinion, Professor Alta Schutte affirmed that the research and development of data science will help enhance the accessibility to health care services among people, especially in poor countries, and simultaneously help them enhance their knowledge to protect themselves. Data sources can come from bracelet devices that are commonly used, creating a large amount of data such as body temperature and responses allowing fevers to be detected.
The Professor, a member of George Global Health Institute and also a member of Preliminary Examination Committee of VinFuture Awards, commented that: “The role of data science will be extremely huge including available data so that the Government and Ministry of Health are able to make a decision due to constant changes in data."
“We are in an era of the new space, an era of the second space, and humans are racing in order to put their first steps into Mars. Like conquering the Moon, I hope that we will witness similar ‘sparks’ to release medical innovations and technologies in the future,” Professor Schutte concluded at the first Science Dialogue held by VinFuture Foundation.
Following the success of the first Dialogue with the topic of health, a series of online Science Dialogues of VinFuture in is going to continue discussing the role of science in association with Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nation such as sustainable environment, smart city, gender equality, and quality education.
VinFuture expects that through this activity, scientists and research experts with a global influence will inspire all segments of society, especially the youth – the future leaders of humanity to pursue research and initiatives in order to urgently solve global issues. Simultaneously, these events also create conditions for scientists to share their great contributions and dedication with the public in a common and understandable language, helping science become an integral part of life, contributing to spreading good values of science that serves humanity in the community.