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23
Nov
2020

A New Model for Vaccine Communications Grounded in Science and Empathy

With COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surging, the impressive vaccine results from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and now AstraZeneca arrive just in time to provide some needed hope. But for these vaccines to bring the pandemic to an end, enough people need to be willing to take them. That’s not a given. Various polls have told a story this year about a rising tide...
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20
Nov
2020

Why the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Studies Aren’t Limited to Severe Disease

[Editor’s Note: a version of this article was first published on Nov. 13 on the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. —LT ] The COVID-19 Operation Warp Speed (OWS) trials have taken some criticism in the medical press, and lay press, for evaluating what some consider to be “trivial” characteristics of mild COVID-19 disease. Some are arguing that it would...
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18
Nov
2020

The mRNA Vaccine News is Good. But Let’s Keep Masks for Now

[Editor’s Note: a version of this article was first published on the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. —LT ] Clinical trials are usually designed to answer one or two specific questions. For the pivotal COVID-19 trials evaluating messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, researchers are looking at whether these vaccines prevent a person from getting sick, keep them...
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11
Nov
2020

Creating the Future of Microbiome-Based Therapies: Simba Gill on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Simba Gill. Simba is the CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Evelo Biosciences. Evelo is part of a new generation of biotech companies seeking to make medicines based on new understanding of the microbiome. The science here is fascinating. Evelo’s drug candidates are biologics designed to be taken orally, to act directly in the gut,...
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10
Nov
2020

Biotech Companies Acting on Promises to Increase Racial Diversity

First came the pandemic. Then the economic slump. Then the push for racial justice. Taken together, you have three major challenges for business leaders to tackle all at once. Because the pandemic has illuminated many racial inequalities, these issues have become intertwined. In the biopharma sector, many company leaders stepped up. Decisive moves were made to reorganize working patterns to...
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5
Nov
2020

Reflections from a Wisconsin Boy

My first real journalism job flashed to mind this week. It was 1998-1999. I was a kid reporter fresh out of the University of Wisconsin. My job was to cover Dane County government for The Capital Times, the progressive newspaper in Madison. Dane County had about 400,000 people. Half lived in the beating liberal heart of the City of Madison...
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4
Nov
2020

Why Learning From Electronic Health Records Is So Appealing – And So Hard

The application of technology to medicine offers the promise of better, more intelligent care; yet success has proved elusive.  To better understand this, we will consider, first the broad ambition of the “learning health system,” understand the general challenges presented by electronic health records (EHRs), and then finally, consider the complexity of a topical use case: a consortia’s effort to...
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1
Nov
2020

Rebuffed as Overlords, AI Experts Return in Peace, Seeking Partnership with Clinicians

Why not healthcare? That’s the core question at the heart of efforts to apply emerging digital and data technologies to healthcare and life science.  As Suchi Saria, an entrepreneur and a computer scientist at John Hopkins, where she directs the Machine Learning and Healthcare Lab, puts it, in the 2000s, these technologies transformed sectors, such as banking, in a fashion...
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29
Oct
2020

What Happened in Switzerland?

Back in March — during the first wave — I reflected on the COVID-19 situation in Switzerland. This small country, at that time, was managing its outbreak and quickly getting it under control. This was just as the federal government had begun coordinating a response, which had previously been left to local authorities. As I mentioned back then, while Switzerland...
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26
Oct
2020

Machine Learning for Drug Discovery: Daphne Koller on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Daphne Koller. Daphne is the CEO of South San Francisco-based insitro. The company is seeking to develop a new platform for drug discovery that leans on a combination of wet labs and machine learning algorithms to spot new biological targets for drug discovery. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been stirring imaginations in...
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