How the pandemic is driving new ways to diagnose and treat disease

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Nurse swabs a nose for a possible coronavirus sample. Photo by Shutterstock.

Two years after the emergence of the novel coronavirus, the world is still battling a pandemic. Despite a brief summer lull, the virus has had its own plan with a new winter surge of the Omicron variant, and it’s likely that new variants will continue to occur — and that learning to adapt and prepare will be the “new normal.”

Despite this harsh reality, there are benefits. Scientists studying and fighting this virus are making striking medical breakthroughs, including the development of highly effective vaccines.

Significant advances have also been made in detection and testing. At-home test kits are fast and easy, and are already in use by most school children and medical practitioners. Better and easier at home testing not only alleviates pressure on doctors’ offices and the over-prescription of antibiotics, but can provide more accurate diagnosis. In the future, experts say, medicines and treatments will be tailored to each individual. 

University of Southern California Professor of Medicine Dr. David Agus says the medical profession is going to be much more effective in the foreseeable future because of advances achieved by fighting covid. He predicts that a “new era” of personalized medicine is just around the corner. 

Agus, whose books include “The End of Illness: A Short Guide to a Long Life” and “The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health,” joins Jonathan Bastian to discuss how the pandemic has impacted his life as a medical practitioner. Agus describes how new advances made during the pandemic are inspiring a whole new generation of scientists and doctors, and are rapidly changing the way medicine is practiced.


Book cover “The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health." USC Professor of Medicine Dr. David Agus predicts that a “new era” of personalized medicine is just around the corner. Photo by Bryce Duffy.

Credits

Guest:

  • David Agus - Author; Professor of Medicine and Engineering; Founding Director; CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, University of Southern California - @DavidAgus

Producer:

Andrea Brody