Neurologist, Associate Professor, Stanford University. Founder and scientific director of Accure Therapeutics and Attune Neurosciences
What would you highlight about the way Mexico City has handled the crisis?
Although there has been considerable background political noise, the response to the pandemic in Silicon Valley has been science-based. The University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University have all conducted epidemiological, clinical, and genetic studies that have made it possible to devise results-based customized measures for the California population. Biotechnology companies have played an important role in developing new diagnostic methods and treatments, headed up by Gilead Pharmaceuticals, who succeeded in getting the go-ahead for the use of Remdesivir. Numerous artificial intelligence companies have also contributed to the analysis of biomedical data and developed new diagnostic tools in conjunction with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.
How has Barcelona’s management of the crisis been viewed from your city?
The press has followed the increase in infections throughout Europe over the last few weeks, and has expressed a degree of alarm over infection levels in Spain, especially Madrid. Fresh outbreaks in Barcelona have been less reported, although more European cities are gradually being added to the list of areas at risk of a surge in cases. What the American media have also noticed is the negative impact of the pandemic on Barcelona FC’s accounts, an impact which has been estimated at more than 200 million euros. Barcelona’s image continues to be positive despite the pandemic and many Americans from Stanford who have visited the city for a medical or technological congress have good memories of the city.
Proposal for Barcelona
Although direct comparisons cannot be made with Silicon Valley due to differences in lifestyle, population dispersion and the more individualistic approach to life here, some ideas may be useful. Here patients with Covid-19 have been transferred from high frequency areas such as Los Angeles to less saturated hospitals, such as those in the San Francisco Bay Area. Teleworking, which was already quite common, has become widespread and many universities and companies have already told their employees not to return to the office until the summer of 2021. Experience in California confirms that making decisions based on scientific knowledge and advice from experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases is essential in helping to control the spread of the pandemic.