Researchers have run numerous military-style simulations to predict the consequences of fictitious viral outbreaks. We discuss how these simulations work, what recommendations come out of them and if any of these warnings have been heeded.
24:08 One good thing
Our hosts pick out things that have made them smile in the last week, including audience feedback, the official end of the Ebola outbreak in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and an enormous t-shirt collection.
President Trump’s preferred coronavirus treatment is the focus of a new study suggesting it could cause more harm than good, but not everybody agrees. We discuss the fallout as trials around the world are paused and countries diverge over policy advice.
12:12 Are we rushing science?
Coronavirus papers are being published extremely quickly, while normally healthy scientific debate is being blown up in the world’s press. Is there a balancing act between timely research and accurate messaging?
18:49 One good thing
Our hosts pick out things that have made them smile in the last week, including hedgerow brews and a trip into the past using AI.
The Coronapod team pick through the latest news, plus we hear from the researchers making lemonade out of lockdown lemons.
In this episode:
01:10 Can contact-tracing apps help?
Governments around the world are banking on smartphone apps to help end the spread of the coronavirus. But how effective might these apps might be? What are the risks? And how should they fit into wider public health strategies?
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker, and Amy Maxmen discuss the role of antibody tests in controlling the pandemic, and how public-health spending could curtail an economic crisis. Also on the show, the open hardware community’s efforts to produce medical equipment.
In this episode:
02:08 Betting on antibodies
Antibody tests could play a key role in understanding how the virus has spread through populations, and in ending lockdowns. We discuss concerns over their reliability, how they could be used, and the tantalising possibility of immunity.
Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank, argues that strong investment in public health is crucial to halt the ongoing pandemic and to prevent a global financial crisis. We discuss his work with US governors to massively increase contact tracing, and his thoughts on how researchers can help steer political thinking.
Our hosts talk about staying positive, and pick a few things that have made them smile in the last 7 days, including a tiny addition to the team, a newspaper produced by children in lockdown, and a gardening update.
Researchers are stepping up efforts to design and produce ventilators and personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff. We hear how the open hardware movement is aiding these efforts, and the regulations that teams need to consider if their designs are to make it into use.
Coronavirus Testing and Tracking (1) are the two pillars of surveillance which will hopefully replace the “shotgun” method of universal distancing that America has tried so far. Quarantining only those who are contagious makes much more social and economic sense than quarantining everybody, and it seemed to work in South Korea (2) and Taiwan (3).
There are problems both with testing-accuracy and availability- and tracking, which is in tension with individuality and freedom. Still we have no choice but to try, because people and businesses need to socialize and make some money.
Some epidemiologists predict that Covid 19 will smolder on, hopefully not overtaxing our health system, until “herd immunity” gets to 60-70 percent of the population.
As a highly susceptible octogenarian, I plan to keep my distance and become one of the minority protected by herd. And maybe an effective immunization or drug will come along.
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