Mathematician/Geneticist Eric Lander on how we can scale up essential testing …by Amanpour and Company

[ Editor’s Note: Finally I found a good video last night while checking my Massachusetts childhood home state for how things were going there with the Covid scourge. It has my recommendation.

The Gordian Knot

The Gordian Knot we face now is how to make sure the huge testing capability needed to support the country’s reopening does not become one of Trump’s empty promises that he later blames on a patsy.

Massachusetts is relying on its home grown talent that is sharing with scientific labs around the country. Cross your fingers that we might be seeing an organic evolution of what could become the needed pandemic preparation that needs to be in place when we are done with Covid, or it is done with us.

What impressed me with this Lander interview was the stark contrast of the good news update with the absence of the political puffery that we have seen at so many White House press conferences, with Trump being the Grand Master of making crap up and blowing smoke up our shorts.

As I listened to Lander’s briefing I began to feel that maybe I was dreaming this, that in our current politically fractious, “blame anyone but me” atmosphere, I would ever hear a professional, dispassionate briefing by people with the professional qualifications needed, teaming up with equally competent political talent.

As we like to say here at VT, Lander has standing. Take a look as his wikipedia when you have the time. We need more people like this at the microphone and fewer politicians and pundits who are out of their depth. Here is a preview:

Eric Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

A geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician, he has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding, and biomedical application of the human genome. He was a principal leader of the Human Genome Project.

We are still getting calls to open up and let Covid roll across the country, that we would come out of it better in the long run. But the long run for Trump is until November 4th.

Notice how quickly Lander and crew jumped on getting all the nursing and assisted living places tested in Boston, an obvious focus overlooked by so many due to the front line people being so short of equipment and testing.

His team got all of the Boston facilities tested in a week and found 25 to 50% infection rates in patients and staff. We will be following his team’s work closely Jim W. Dean ]

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Eric Lander’s home base in Boston

– First aired … April 24, 2020

After New York and New Jersey, Massachusetts is one of the states most severely affected by COVID-19, but Eric Lander is helping the state fight back.

A pioneering mathematician and geneticist, he helped lead the Human Genome Project, and now–in just two weeks–he has transformed the renowned MIT and Harvard Biomedical Research Lab into a mass testing facility.

Lander explains to Walter Isaacson exactly what it will take to scale up the essential testing that will enable our exiting severe pandemic restrictions. Originally aired on April 24, 2020.

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. This is a pretty good and detailed discussion about detecting and testing techniques of the Covid-19 virus, but seems to be missing the discussion of where the virus came from and whether or not the virus is actually deadly. It also does not address the subject of the government financially rewarding hospitals and doctors who determine deaths are caused by the Covid-19 virus. With the government rewarding the medical profession for ‘finding’ deaths caused by Covid-19 the stats are stacked in favor of higher numbers. So, how much of the data we see is real and truly accurate, and how much of it is puffery?

    With all of this great testing capability, we must get to an honest understanding of just how bad this alleged pandemic really is. I still don’t know.

    • We have to remember something ourselves, a common mistake to make, and that is when people or a group are doing something really good, like picking up the slack in a situation where their talents, facilities and tools have them in a good position to do son. The Broad Institute is not a Congressional investigation committee. They are completely focused on ramping up testing ASAP and the next, coming up with quicker, cheaper and more accurate tests. So far the Broad Institute is not trying to patent anything, which should not be done anyway, and allow big Pharma to make tons of money on pandemics. The battle on the investigation will have layers to it, starting with the politicians wanting to make sure it is rigged to not put the stink on them, and then Intel agencies are involved in anyway for causing it, they will give themselves a blank check to do anything to protect themselves. Welcome to that world.

  2. This virus is so contagious I do not know how we are going to stop it from infecting everybody in the whole wide world! Also, it seems that most of the people who get it do not need to be hospitalised. Also, do we not need “herd immunity” as we already have herd immunity for all the trillions of viruses floating around the world – and which kill 50 to 60 thousand people every year anyway? (That figure may be low.) Or else we can never stop wearing masks and keeping 6 feet apart. That is not going to work. A certain segment of our population, unfortunately in the US a fairly large segment of our population, is immune compromised to some extent from the 4 big ones: obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. It is indeed a gordian knot. IMO, I am sorry to say, we all have to step up and treat our body as the temple of the soul. This means eating less junk and more food, getting up of the couch and moving more, and generally realising that if we want our immune systems to work well we have to do what we have to do – because I think this virus is too easy to get.

    • As the smoke clears and we start getting solid numbers on those that had the mild version, the scientist will start studying their blood and immune systems to see metabolically was going on to kill the covid. Is it one process that defends them, or does the process vary by ethnic group. They may learn that if different metabolisms are involved then they need a “boutique” of vaccinations. Think of the world’s entire genetic community working on this and all sharing information. Think how much better prepared we will be for the next one.

    • “I am sorry to say, we all have to step up and treat our body as the temple of the soul. This means eating less junk and more food, getting up of the couch and moving more, and generally realising that if we want our immune systems to work well we have to do what we have to do…” – lizzie dw

      To achieve that we need a fundamental change in how the value created by labor is distributed – people intentionally stressed out, overworked, and underpaid by our crony capitalist system are not going to be able to take good care of themselves when most of the productivity gains of the past 75 years go to a few hundred families (worldwide).

      “Think of the world’s entire genetic community working on this and all sharing information. Think how much better prepared we will be for the next one.” – Jim W. Dean

      Think of how this new shared information will be used by those developing bio-warfare weapons. “Malignant until proven incompetent” is the policy we have to take in our current world.

  3. Of course this guy knows – exactly – how to fight this Virus, because he knows – exactly – who made this Virus. How many ” Institutions” have been involved in Bio Labs , that have been associated with the CIA and US Military, and now, they have to cover their ass . If he was that great – he would be whistle blowing on the entire scenario, that created and spread this virus – He Knows – He is in the circle –

    • They are dealing with the mechanical part of it now, the speed, as the governor needs accurate options placed before him before he can design and opening up campaign. Then comes what is the best order to do things, like they showed with the nursing homes as the old people are most of the deaths.

  4. We are seeing the blowback from the mistrust people have playing out in reluctance to be tested, the result of decades of aggressive foreign policy and secrecy that is actually real.
    When a populace trusts leadership the ball game is very different. And speaking of ball games, that is a low priority, and from what I’m seeing is going to be NFL having no concessions, and limited seating. The colleges are going to be gripping pretty soon, and should have been following this guys lead, by heading the charge instead of filing for bailouts. July looks to be a sobering time.

  5. ..the part i don’t get is, almost from the get go, we have been told you can be contagious with no symptoms. That bit of information has to be in place in order to roll out everything else. But is it true? Who do you trust?

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