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GESDA's best pick from the press, web and science journals, in relation to GESDA's thematic platforms

08-15 February 2022

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg
! Next edition: 1 March 2022


> Reboot biomedical R&D in the global public interest // 09.02.2022, Nature
Inequitable access to the fruits of research during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgency – and feasibility – of overhauling the R&D system. This Comment in Nature is signed by the following scientists, among others: Soumya Swaminathan, Bernard Pécoul, Marie Paule Kieny, Marcel Tanner, Suerie Moon.

Workers in south India make low-cost, generic HIV drugs that will expand access to therapies.
© Sara Hylton/Bloomberg/Getty


> Ageism in artificial intelligence for health // 09.02.2022, WHO
This WHO policy brief examines the use of AI in medicine and public health for older people, including the conditions in which AI can exacerbate or introduce new forms of ageism. It presents legal, non-legal and technical measures that can be used to minimize the risk of ageism in AI and maximize AI’s benefits for older people as these technologies become more commonly used across the world.


> Drugs based on next-generation gene editing are moving toward the clinic faster than CRISPR 1.0 // 10.02.2022, STAT
For CRISPR 1.0 therapies, 4.5 years passed between the first studies in cells and the first public data in non-human primates. CRISPR 2.0, got it down to 3 years. STAT has created a new tracker of milestone CRISPR studies, and found that the explosion in interest created a positive feedback loop, accelerating the movement of new and better gene editing approaches toward the clinic.

© Adobe


> Mieux explorer l’océan, ou mieux l’exploiter? Le dilemme de Brest // 11.02.2022, Le Temps
Une trentaine de chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement, dont la Suisse, étaient réunis en France. Objectif: protéger la haute mer et lutter contre l’invasion du plastique.

Related contents:
> Brest Commitments for the Oceans // 11.02.2022, Palais de l’Elysée
Representatives of more than 100 countries from all sea basins and representing more than half the world’s exclusive economic zones, have stated their determination to preserve the oceans by contributing to the “Brest Commitments for the Oceans”, alongside the Secretary-General of the UN, the Director-General of UNESCO and the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

> France sends mixed signals on deep-sea mining in advance of ocean summit // 09.02.2022, Scoop World

© flickr


> Visions of the Internet in 2035 // 07.02.2022, Pew Research Center
Asked to ‘imagine a better world online,’ experts hope for a ubiquitous – even immersive – digital environment that promotes fact-based knowledge, offers better defense of individuals’ rights, empowers diverse voices and provides tools for technology breakthroughs and collaborations to solve the world’s wicked problems.

© Getty Images


> The myth of tech exceptionalism // 10.02.2022, Noema
With the onslaught of press coverage and congressional hearings about Big Tech’s role in society in recent years, we have heard variations of an all-too common defense from tech leaders: “We do more good than harm.” On its face, this is both an unsubstantiated and unquantifiable assertion, based on the self-described tech industry’s views of what is good for the rest of us, both today and in the future they are building. More importantly, it is an irrelevant argument intended to subvert a fundamental purpose of democratic governance: protecting the public from predatory or harmful actors and business practices.

© Artby Outsidein for Noema Magazine


> Science and social media // 10.02.2022, Science
Long before the pandemic, scientists began flocking to social media, sharing ideas, thoughts, and information. But it is undeniable that the pandemic has boosted the visibility and engagement of scientists on many platforms, especially Twitter. Has this been good or bad for science? The answer is both, says Holden Throp, editor-in-chief of Science, to open a series of articles on this issue.

 Related articles:

© Robert Neubecker


> Charting a course for the future of medicine // February 2022, STAT/Genentech
The seismic breakthroughs in science and medicine – and the challenges that lie ahead for scientific institutions and health care systems – took center stage at the 2021 STAT Summit. The event featured perspectives from biotech visionaries and the minds behind the Biden administration’s ARPA-H program. It also looked deeply at both the crisis of Black maternal mortality in the U.S., the future of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and the next stage of drug pricing legislation in Congress. Taken together, these stories underscore the important conversations that are taking place, as researchers, health care industry leaders, and policymakers navigate the future of science and medicine.


> Food is Medicine Research Action Plan // February 2022, Aspen Institute
The  United  States  faces  an  unabating  chronic  disease  epidemic,  leading  to  skyrocketing  health  care  costs  and devastating  effects  for  individuals,  communities,  and  the  nation.  The  connection  between  chronic  disease  and nutrition is undeniable; nutrition not only plays a role in the onset of disease but also its prevention, management, and treatment. Efforts that involve a healthcare  response  to  the  need  for  better  nutrition  fall  under  the  umbrella  term “Food is Medicine.” An emerging body of research demonstrates the enormous promise of Food is Medicine interventions across a range of health conditions in improving health and quality of life, while also curbing health care costs.

Related articles:


> The net-zero transition: what it would cost, what it could bring // February 2022, McKinsey
Governments and companies worldwide are pledging to achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases. What would it take to fulfill that ambition? In a new report, McKinsey looks at the economic transformation that a transition to net-zero emissions would entail – a transformation that would affect all countries and all sectors of the economy, either directly or indirectly. We estimate the changes in demand, capital spending, costs, and jobs, to 2050, for sectors that produce about 85 percent of overall emissions and assess economic shifts for 69 countries.

  • For understandable and entirely valid reasons, research has focused on harvesting colossal amounts of observational physical data to feed into our climate models.
  • The “biological layer” of our planet, however, remains under-sensed and less adequately modelled. For example, our observations of soils, their dynamism and the interactions of their microorganisms, are in many respects low-resolution.
  • Ecological modelling, the attempt to understand interactions and feedback mechanisms that shape ecosystems at a variety of scales, requires a full range of biological sensing platforms that have not yet been fully developed and deployed.
→ Read the chapter “Ecological Models


Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

Artificial intelligence

> Researchers furious over claim that AI is already conscious // 11.02.2022, Futurism

Computer scientists prove why bigger neural networks do better // 10.02.2022, Quanta Magazine

Quantum and physics 

> Atomically thin materials significantly shrink qubits // 07.11.2022, IEEE Spectrum

Duke University, IonQ’s new quantum computing gate could lead to more efficient quantum algorithms // 10.02.2022, The Quantum Insider

Ion-based quantum computers could boost battery performance, how fuel cells are decarbonizing energy // 10.02.2022, Physics World

AI efficiently fixes mistakes in error-prone quantum computers // 10.02.2022, New Scientist

Race not over between classical and quantum computers // 10.02.2022, Physics

 An Assessment of the U.S. and Chinese Industrial Bases in Quantum Technology // Rand Corporation

Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> How the Human Genome Project revolutionized understanding of our DNA // 09.02.2022, Science News

The world wide genome: genetic privacy in the age of Big Data // 11.02.2022, Science & Diplomacy

Longevity and health

> Aging: caloric restriction has a new player // 10.02.2022, Science

Are genetically modified pig organs the future of transplants? // 08.02.2022, New Scientist

Biopharma’s response to the next pandemic depends on collaboration and the ability to learn and fail fast // 11.02.2022, STAT

​​Bionic eye tech aims to help blind people see // 14.02.2022, BBC


Incremental advance treating spinal cord injury // 08.02.2022, Neurologica blog

New map of meaning in the brain changes ideas about memory // 08.02.2022, Quanta Magazine 

© Alex Huth

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering


Janez Potočnik interview: How a circular economy can help us go green // 09.02.2022, New Scientist
A sustainable future means using less stuff more wisely – but politicians aren’t yet grasping the nettle, says the head of the UN International Resource Panel.

Related articles in New Scientist:

Catalyst turns carbon dioxide into gasoline 1,000 times more efficiently // 10.02.2022,


> Gene-edited wheat resists dreaded fungus without pesticides // 09.02.2022, Science

China’s approval of gene-edited crops energizes researchers // 11.02.2022, Nature

The precious genes of the world’s first cloned ferret could save her species // 11.02.2022, Science

The urine revolution: how recycling pee could help to save the world // 09.02.2022, Nature


> Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship event leaves a lot of questions around the company’s big rocket // 11.02.2022, TechCrunch

UN postpones space diplomacy talks after Russia asks for more time // 09.02.2022, Politico

Space Force eager to invest in debris removal projects // 10.02.2022, SpaceNews

Climate and environment

UN report to sound alarm on impacts of climate change // 13.02.2022, Geneva Solutions

Rapid global phaseout of animal agriculture has the potential to stabilize greenhouse gas levels for 30 years and offset 68 percent of CO2 emissions this century // 01.02.2022, PLOS Climate

'Game-changing' tech can extract 99% of carbon dioxide directly from the air // 07.02.2022, Yahoo! News

ESA hosts new office to coordinate global climate modelling push // 09.02.2022, ESA press release


> Why this could be a critical year for electric cars // 08.02.2022, The New York Times

A photosensitizer–polyoxometalate dyad that enables the decoupling of light and dark reactions for delayed on-demand solar hydrogen production // 27.01.2022, Nature Chemistry

Startup will drill 12 miles into Earth’s crust to tap the boundless energy below // 14.02.2022, Singularity Hub

Nuclear-fusion reactor smashes energy record // 09.02.2022, Nature

The Joint European Torus tokamak reactor near Oxford, UK, is a test bed for the world’s largest fusion experiment — ITER in France. Credit: Christopher Roux (CEA-IRFM)/EUROfusion (CC BY 4.0)

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

The global nature of science, technology and innovation: an interview with Ambassador Qin Gang, China's Ambassador to the U.S. // 17.12.2021, Science & Diplomacy

In the global chips arms race, Europe makes its move // 12.02.2022, The Economist

EU and US legislation seek to open up digital platform data // 10.02.2022, Science

Following Lander’s resignation, here’s who might be in line for White House science adviser // 10.02.2022, STAT+

Africa CDC is elevated to status of continental public health agency // 07.02.2022, Health Policy Watch

Tedros celebrates WHO’s ‘baby’, the mRNA hub in South Africa // 11.02.2022, Health Policy Watch
Related article: European and African pharma sector want permanent platform to support African development // 14.02.2022, Health Policy Watch
Related speech: WHO Director-General's remarks at mRNA Technology Transfer Hub // 11.02.2022, WHO
Related Editorial: Africa is bringing vaccine manufacturing home // 09.02.2022, Nature

GESDA Platform: Knowledge Foundations

> The world’s biggest optical telescope will search for alien life // 11.02.2022, Motherboard

From the anthropocene to the microbiocene // 10.02.2020, Noema
The novel coronavirus compels us to rethink the modern concept of the political.

Illustration of a pangolin. Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, Joseph Meyer, 1897.


> Public blockchains are the new national economies of the metaverse // 09.02.2022, WIRED

Enemies of my enemy: how fear of China is forging a new world order // March 2022, Foreign Affairs

Love drugs are coming and they bring big ethical problems with them // 09.02.2022, New Scientist

© Simone Rotella


Quantum diplomacy: rebalancing the power dynamic through emerging technologies // 10.02.2022, Science & Diplomacy
André Xuereb, Maltese Ambassador for Digital Affairs and Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Malta, examines “ how a small nation such as Malta can employ science diplomacy to assert its role in this evolving ecosystem and turn itself into a leader.” (©DR)

> Guy Parmelin: «Prendre la science en otage n’est pas une bonne idée» // 11.02.2022, Le Temps
Le conseiller fédéral est venu plaider à Berlin pour un retour de la Suisse dans le programme européen de recherche Horizon-Europe. (© A.Anex/Keystone)

Jian-Wei Pan sees routine quantum advantage within five years // 07.02.2022, The Quantum Insider
When most people make predictions about the timetable of quantum computing adoption, you take it with a grain of salt. When a leader in quantum research — and a pioneer in several approaches to quantum computing — you give it a bit more credence. (©DR)

> Patrick Aebischer invité de “Drôle d’époque” // 02.02.2022, RTS La Première
L’ancien président de l’EPFL, maintenant notamment vice-président de GESDA, se confie. (©DR)


> Decoding brain diseases, molecule by molecule // 11.02.2022, UNDARK
In A Molecule Away from Madness, neurologist Sara Manning Peskin shows how molecular research has transformed our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Nicknaming these molecules mutants, rebels, invaders, and evaders, Peskin believes we are now on the precipice of a breakthrough.


Humanity, now more than ever, is facing global challenges (especially with regards to the Covid-19 crisis), putting people and the planet under stress and in great uncertainty. Simultaneously, the world is experiencing breakthroughs in science and technology at an unprecedented pace, which are sometimes hard to grasp. Anticipation, therefore, is key to build the future with the aim of early and fully exploiting this scientific potential for the well-being and inclusive development of all. The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator was founded in Geneva in 2019 to tackle this issue.

GESDA's ambition is to first anticipate and identify these cutting-edge advances in science and technology throughout various domains (Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI, Human Augmentation, Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering, Science & Diplomacy). Based on this scientific outlook, it will, with its Diplomacy community, translate potential leaps in science and tech into tools that can bring effective and socially-inclusive solutions to emerging challenges. Most importantly, this process will be achieved not only by scientists or diplomats, but will include actors of various professional origins and mindsets (from philanthropy, industry, citizens, to youth).

Forward Forward
Have a very nice and fruitful week! :-)
Copyright ©  2020, All rights reserved for the selection. All rights reserved by the respective media for articles reproduction.
Selection of an article in this press review doesn't mean endorsement by GESDA.

Mailing address:
Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator
c/o Fondation Campus Biotech
Chemin des Mines 9
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