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"An inspiring day jam-packed with a diverse bunch of health-tech rock stars" (WIRED Health Recap II)

We love reading recaps from some of the wonderful OHT-ers who attend events we've partnered with. Check out this great summary from Charly Massey on WIRED Health!


 

Programming this year's WIRED Health must have been tough.

2020 was an event horizon for Life Sciences and Medicine. The accelerant force of Covid-19 has catalysed and catapulted novel molecular and virology techniques ushering us into a new era with initially, inspiring clinical outcomes.


So how do I summarise such an embarrassment of rich stories? My take-outs were;


1. Covid gratitude is an uncomfortable phrase when the human loss and sacrifice is so large but being ‘at’ WIRED HEALTH 2021 did give me reasons to be grateful.

Uğur Şahin, who with his wife Özlem Türeci, developed the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, built upon Mariana Mazzucato’s opening remarks that Government involvement can encourage innovation rather than stifle it. Then explained calmly how the mRNA morphology streamlines any future “upgrades” emerging virulent strains of Covid-19 might require for continual widespread therapeutic use.


George Church, a synthetic biologist, famous for developing the methods used for the first genome sequence, shared how his lab switched from regenerating Mammoths to developing an open-source nasal delivered peptide vaccine.


Shifting perspective was also a strong theme of Mei Mei Hu’s year. Covaxx plan to use the success of their Covid antibody tests to propel the long-term ambitions of the family business. Standardising the use of endobody vaccines to treat the non-infectious disease targets; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Hearing about how they exploit the patient's immune system to produce monoclonal antibodies; marking deleterious cells for elimination was fascinating.



2. Empathy.

The practising clinicians Rachel Clarke and Beth Healey powerfully bought the human into the day. Rachel was fiercely calm sharing the realities of Covid for patients and their families.

Her description of helping children into PPE to say goodbye to their parents was powerfully shocking and resonated with the active chat feed. In contrast, Beth discussed her time living in isolation with the antarctic scientific community and hinted at the mental challenges emerging humankind might face after periods of isolation. Representation in scientific discovery is something Angela Saini has written widely about and her interview was an important reminder that bias exists and diversity benefits us all.



3. So this is what real life looks like now.

It is unbelievable to think that a year ago the head of the world’s leading economy was suggesting injecting bleach could be a credible course of treatment.

Thankfully Joanna Shields and the team at BenevolentAI have a different approach to drug discovery. As recently reported in The Lancet, they have successfully identified Baricitinib as a prospective trial candidate to interrupt Covid’s receptor-mediated entry into cells, with minimal side effects.

A member of Biden’s Coronavirus advisory board, Celine Gounder, discussed the public health challenges NY city and state continue to face. Although quietly confident of the US response, she highlighted how emerging strains complicate response and transmission rates need to remain low. Viruses ability to drastically change infection strategy increases with high transmission rates. Jemimah Kariuki reflected upon how life, particularly childbirth doesn’t stop for anything. Using Twitter she was able to set up and promote Kenya’s“Wheels for life” and reversed the high levels of mother and child mortality resulting from the Covid curfew.


4. The day was packed with lots of things to be optimistic about. Particularly the showcase of the WIRED Health EY Startup finalists. One HealthTech was represented, the BIOS team who bagged first place includes our very own Susie Lee. I could write another post just on smart ideas being brought to market, or you can read about it here.



5. Ingenuity - Innovation doesn't just sit at the feet of invention, it's equally reliant on something we humans excel at; adaptation.

Simon Baron-Cohen challenged us to think differently about those who think differently.

Sharing his work identifying the strong correlations between the vital drover of human progress; if-and-then pattern matching capabilities amongst in his field of expertise; autism. Ed Catmull, whose studio Pixar bought us, Toy Story and Nemo, has been investigating the relationship between imagery and creativity. Exploring incidents of Hyperphantasia and Aphantasia - the inability to see images in your head with psychologist Joel Pearson and premiered the resulting short movie.




This account though only scratches the surface - videos from the day and other WIRED events are here. If you get an opportunity to attend next year’s do it.


It was a thrilling day and I left with that reassuring feeling that we have got this. Whatever this is!


I was lucky enough to attend as a guest of WIRED HEALTH 2021 to recognise, my work with One HealthTech.


 

About Charly


Charly Massey is an award-winning marketing, brand and partnerships leader formally trained in data analytics.


A balance of creative flair and commercial rigour forms the foundations of her persuasively simple, methodical approach to statistical and trend analysis. Her interest in problem-solving arose from her BSc Cellular and Molecular Biology study. Charly develops blended data constructs that test and validate good decision making for clients across the Health-tech, Ed-tech, luxury, lifestyle and consumer technology sectors.

Leading the delivery of several culturally significant, high visibility 360-degree campaigns and innovative cross-channel partnerships, Charly’s end-to-end campaign strategy and execution — both above and below the line — has won industry acclaim and a string of awards for a portfolio of internationally recognised brands.

By taking an entrepreneurial outlook combined with strategic vision and strong commercial focus, she believes data intelligence can inspire and fuel innovation.


She’s also a World Record holder. LinkedIn + Twitter

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