Coronavirus and the Future of Immunotherapy with Prof. Dr. Isaiah Arkin

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is dominating most headlines of every news channel in the world. To learn more about this virus and its implications we talked to Professor Dr. Isaiah Arkin. He is the Arthur Lejwa Prof. of Structural Biochemistry at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the former Vice-President for Research and Development at the University. He holds a Ph.D. from the Yale School of Medicine in Cell Biology. Professor Arkin’s research has succeeded in shedding new light on the inner workings of flu viruses and in particular how a virus avoids anti-viral therapy.

In this episode, Prof. Arkin clarifies some of the misconceptions around the coronavirus and draws parallels between the common flu and SARS. We discuss the threat level of the coronavirus, what we can expect from the disease, how we can control it, and whether the global fear is justified. In the second part of the show, we discuss immunotherapy, which he believes is ‘the next big thing’ in healthcare. He walks us through what the future of cancer research holds, why we should look to the natural world for answers and highlights some interesting research that is currently happening. As usual, our interaction with the Hebrew University was a fruitful one and we look forward to engaging more at NEXUS: Israel 2020 in New York.

Key Points From This Episode
-Coronavirus: Best-case, worst-case, and most likely outcomes
-Why the biggest problem with the coronavirus is the fear of the unknown
-Arkin’s take on containment the spread outside of China
-Why Prof Arkin believes that the fear of the disease is largely unfounded
-Find out what it would take for a successful vaccine for the coronavirus to be invented
-How poor mutation is a positive aspect of the coronavirus
-What the future of immunotherapy has in store in the next five to ten years
-Lessons from nature: Takeaways from why elephants and whales don’t get cancer
-Insights into Compugen’s checkpoint inhibiting research and what it’s getting right
-Learn about the challenges and trajectory of immunotherapy treatment for solid tumors
-Arkin’s views on CRISPR gene-editing advancements
-Find out which Hebrew University research is currently most exciting for Prof. Arkin

“Sequencing has outpaced CPUs and their performance. Unbelievable!” — Prof. Isaiah Arkin

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