BIS2020: Professor Isaiah Arkin | ARK Invest | Summary and Q&A

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April 6, 2020
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ARK Invest
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BIS2020: Professor Isaiah Arkin | ARK Invest

TL;DR

Dr. Isaiah Arkin, a biochemist and virus expert, provides insights into the current coronavirus pandemic and discusses strategies to tackle the virus.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Are different strains of the coronavirus emerging and will they require different remedies?

Yes, different strains are emerging, but currently, there is no evidence that they require different treatments. The virus mutates rapidly to avoid treatment, but its mutation rate is slower than that of the flu.

Q: What are the most effective approaches to dealing with the coronavirus?

In the short term, repurposing existing drugs is crucial. In the medium to long term, the development of vaccines is the best route. In the very long term, new drugs specifically targeting coronaviruses may be developed.

Q: What needs to happen for a new vaccine to be available within a year?

Developing a vaccine against the coronavirus is feasible, as there are no major obstacles. However, ensuring efficacy and safety takes time. The concentrated effort and focus of the scientific community, along with support from regulatory agencies, can expedite the vaccine development process.

Q: How will the weather impact the spread of the coronavirus as it gets warmer?

Historically, respiratory diseases like the flu tend to abate in warmer weather. Heat is not conducive to the spread of viruses, but this is based on previous outbreaks and needs further study. However, the warmer weather can work in our favor in controlling the virus.

Q: Will the third wave of the pandemic in the southern hemisphere be more difficult to handle?

While it's challenging to predict, countries in the southern hemisphere can learn from the experiences of other regions and implement effective social distancing measures. Additionally, support from developed countries in terms of medical equipment can help mitigate the impact in the southern hemisphere.

Q: Will this pandemic change our societal norms regarding illness and working while sick?

The current global lockdown and firsthand experiences of the virus will likely change societal attitudes towards illness. This may result in a decrease in glorifying individuals who work while sick, as people have seen and experienced the consequences of viral spread.

Q: How will this pandemic impact global policymakers' approach to healthcare?

Policymakers will realize the interconnectedness of the world and the importance of addressing infectious diseases. The focus on fighting infectious diseases may increase, emphasizing the need for preparedness and research in zoonotic diseases.

Q: When can we expect to return to normalcy?

It is difficult to provide an exact timeline, but it is expected that a few months will be needed to regain some sense of normalcy. However, this is subject to change as the situation evolves.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dr. Arkin is an expert in structural biochemistry and has been studying coronaviruses for decades.

  • He emphasizes the importance of repurposing existing drugs, developing vaccines, and creating new drugs to combat the virus.

  • Dr. Arkin also discusses the impact of weather on the spread of respiratory diseases and the need for global preparedness.

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