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Strategic Commentary

Frank Gannon

by Professor Frank Gannon

Last updated: 29/05/2020

COVID-19 – Gattaca solution needed (dated 29 May 2020)

I do not watch many science fiction films; the reality is challenging enough. However, I recall the film Gattaca which I enjoyed almost 20 years ago. In it, the hero wanted to be an astronaut. He had a genetic defect that made him ineligible. He had to place his finger on a device to gain entry of the facility. The device instantly sequenced his DNA. He faked the material that was sampled and got to go to outer space. Today, we need a Gattaca-type device to define our COVID-19 status instantly before we go to work, fly, attend a sports event or live normally. It could be standard in our future; as ordinary as showing our ID or having a PIN for our credit card. Will it happen?

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COVID-19 – Finding the silver bullet (dated 18 May 2020)

Many of us would have been at or seen a protest march, where the anthem was, “What do we want? XXX. When do we want it? NOW”. In the context of COVID-19, XXX worldwide is more than a single word. It is a list that includes rapid accurate tests, a pill that would kill the virus, and a vaccine that would mean we could all go about our business as usual. In parallel, as the numbers reduce in some regions, there is a growth in the impatience to abandon any caution and get things going again. Simultaneously, some countries still do not have enough PPE, reagents for assays, or Intensive Care Units to ensure that cruel triaging does not have to take place. On a global scale, there are a lot of things that we want.

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COVID-19 – Is Remdesivir it? (dated 3 May 2020)

I have a friend who is a cynic. We were talking about the positive mentions by Dr Anthony Fauci about remdesivir from Gilead as the treatment of choice of COVID-19. He said that every time he hears the word “breakthrough” he thinks, “share price”. A check on the past six months shows that Gilead’s share price was hovering around US$65 until it jumped to approximately US$80 at the end of February, soon after COVID-19 was recognised as a pandemic in need of a treatment.

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COVID-19 – Data Doubts (dated 27 April 2020)

Recently, I wrote a quite confident blog (COVID 19-How are we doing) that looked at COVID-19 trends in different countries. As I have lived in and have family and friends in different countries, I was following the various national announcements. Generally, the authorities were positive. Given the extent of self-interest in making such pronouncements; I was interested to compare how countries were doing in controlling the pandemic.

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COVID-19 – How are we doing? (dated 9 April 2020)

A million years ago, last year, every Saturday afternoon was a time to get the soccer results. A TV voice saying “Leicester City (one of my teams) 0, Manchester City 1,” would be upsetting. Now, football and other sports are suspended, but we still get results…daily. These COVID results are not numbers, they are people, and devastating is not the word to describe the pain behind them. There are no winners.

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