In the past year we have suffered a heavy loss; People have lost loved ones due to the epidemic, while many have fallen ill, some still suffer, children have been out of school for a whole year, millions have lost steady salaries, and some have lost their small businesses that they have built for decades. Almost all of us have been deprived of hugs, visits, travel, the joy of gathering together at a favorite restaurant, and more.
However, this year has taught us a lot as well, and it may seem strange that the coronavirus pandemic has also provided some blessings and blessings, and despite the ongoing suffering, it should be recognized. In fact, knowing them increases the chance that our societies will emerge from this ordeal more capable, more flexible, and more prepared for the future. Here are three ways the world has changed for the better during this terrible year.
1 We now know how to “program” our vaccines
Perhaps the development that will have the most profound repercussions for future generations is the amazing advancement in biotechnology of transmitted RNA, and most importantly, that we got vaccines very quickly after the previous record period for developing vaccines was four years, and that was in the sixties of the last century .
This time, humans developed many good “Covid-19” vaccines in less than a year, compared to the retrovirus associated with HIV “AIDS”, which is difficult to immunize against, for example, and we still do not have an effective vaccine for it.
And “Covid-19” was more prevalent among humans, and billions of dollars were paid out of public funds in light of the global urgency to push things forward. The pandemic also speeded things up, and given that the epidemic was so widespread, it was easy to get results from vaccine trials.
But amid all this historical developments came, and the new RNA technology, on which many vaccines depend, especially those of “Pfizer Bionic” and “Moderna”, is a historical scientific and technical achievement. We are now “programming” vaccines, and thanks to advances in science and industrial production, we can produce them in large quantities, and learn how to deliver them to our cells within months, and this is all new.
Neither Moderna nor Biontech had a single product approved in the market before 2020. Both companies designed their vaccines primarily on a computer in January 2020, and for Biontech it took a short time, and both companies had candidate vaccines designed before At least four weeks after the announcement of the first confirmed death of “Corona” in the United States, and “Moderna” was producing vaccine batches for use in its experiments, more than a month before the World Health Organization declared the pandemic. And in 2021, the two companies aim to produce billions of amazingly effective vaccine doses.
2 We learned how to use our digital infrastructure
The matter is related to the widespread internet and digital communication, and our many applications. Perhaps the latest development was “Zoom”, which is the visual communication service, which was used everywhere, and has become synonymous with work in times of the epidemic, and the service is less than 10 years old, and the same is said about access to The Internet, which has allowed billions of people to broadcast entertainment in the home, and to stay in touch with family members and colleagues. The Internet connection is far from perfect or evenly distributed, but it has become faster and more widespread, over the past decade, and had it not been for the Internet, the epidemic would have been more miserable and costly. Technology has also shown how we can make our societies function better in normal times. We must bear in mind, for example, the emergence of telehealth services during the pandemic. And last summer, while I was away from home a few hours away, I developed the debilitating neck pain that I had suffered for about five years on a different trip, and it was instantly recognizable: a sharp and persistent pain where my neck was attached to my left shoulder, and even a slight movement was feeling me. As if poisonous little spears hit that area. The last time I was told that nothing could be done before I could see my doctor in person after several days, and this is not the case now, as I contacted my doctor immediately through the new patient portal, which contains a video chat option, which became available. Because of the epidemic.
I described the problem and showed my limited range of motion, and the doctor ended up sending a prescription for an oral medication to a nearby pharmacy, and just an hour later and less than a full day after my symptoms appeared, I was sitting in my car waiting for my turn in front of the pharmacy, staring at the medicine box in amazement. .
Previously, I was in so much pain for several days that I started to hallucinate from lack of sleep, and this time it was very easy and relaxing.
3 We unleashed the true spirit of collective scientific work
On January 10, 2020, Australian virologist Edward Holmes published a humble tweet, in which he said, “The initial genome sequence of the coronavirus associated with the Wuhan outbreak is now available on the (Virological) website,” and a microbiologist replied, “And this is how it starts!” He added a picture of a plane taking off. And so has already begun an impressive year of open, fast, collaborative and dynamic scientific activities, which include avenues of cooperation unimaginable even a few decades ago. Holmes was announcing that a scientist in China, Zhang Yongsan, had sequenced the genome of the mysterious virus, from Wuhan, after he and his team worked non-stop, and completed the sequence only 40 hours after the virus sample arrived in a dry box at his office in Shanghai.
Without waiting for official approval or permission, Yongsan also shared the result immediately with a group of researchers in Australia, giving them the green light to post it online in an open project. Teamwork has also expanded in ways that would be difficult to imagine without the new digital tools that allow for rapid sharing and collaboration, as well as the sense of urgency that has permeated isolated work.
The epidemic occurred at a time when medical technology, digital, and social dynamics converged with each other, revealing the enormous positive potential of humankind. Nothing will erase the losses we have suffered, but this painful year has pushed us towards radical improvements in human life, thanks to new biotechnologies, greater experience in the positive aspects of digital communication, and a more dynamic scientific process.
Zainab Tufiksi: Professor at the University of Carolina, interested in technology, artificial intelligence, and society
Perhaps the development that will have the most profound ramifications for future generations is the startling progress in biotechnology of mRNA.
It has already begun an impressive year of open, fast, collaborative and dynamic scientific activities, which include avenues of cooperation unimaginable even a few decades ago.
– The new RNA technology that many vaccines depend on, especially the “Pfizer Bionic” and “Moderna” vaccines, is a historical scientific and technical achievement.
The epidemic occurred at a time when medical and digital technology and social dynamics converged with each other, revealing the enormous positive potential of humankind.
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