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比尔盖茨告诉你如何用VR抗击疾病

2020-01-16 08:31:06来源:励志吧0次阅读

上个月,在 兰州的一座 大楼里,我戴上VR头盔,一睹未来药物的风采。

我当时正在参观坐落于美国国家卫生研究院(NIH)的疫苗研究中心,这家联邦机构由国家财政支持,进行医学方面的研究。我们的基金会已经与NIH合作了很多年,我们时常在一起交流项目上的进展,这是我们最重要的科研合作之一。结束了一上午的会议,NIH院长弗朗西斯·柯林斯(Francis Collins)和同事托尼·福西(Tony Fauci)带我参观了疫苗中心。

这次参观包含了一次非常酷的体验,他们向我展示了科研人员如何使用VR技术检测病毒的弱点,进而针对这些弱点研发疫苗或药物。利用这一最先进的方法,我们可以研制出通用流感疫苗(我们现在只有季节性的流感疫苗)。希望在未来的某一天,我们还能用这种方法研制出艾滋病疫苗(我正在投资一家从事类似工作的私营企业)。

请看下面这段视频:

NIH的工作令人耳目一新,这个VR模型只是其中的一个例子。在美国,从降低心脏病死亡率到显著减少蛀牙发生率,NIH在健康的方方面面都扮演着重要角色。如今,它正与美国疾病控制预防中心一起,帮助我们准备应对下一次的流行病疫情——如果我们不提前做好准备,疫情一旦爆发,将很可能夺去几千万人的生命。

NIH正在研究的疾病还包括:

艾滋病:NIH的科研人员在开发抗逆转录病毒药物方面发挥着重要作用,这类药物拯救了1700万艾滋病毒携带者的生命。正如我在参观疫苗研究中心时所看到的那样,他们正领导全世界的科研人员开发艾滋病疫苗。

癌症:NIH的研究为治疗癌症提出新思路,即通过巩固机体自身能力来抗击疾病,包括防止肿瘤逃过免疫系统的防御。NIH还曾是HPV(人 状瘤病毒)疫苗研发的主要参与方,HPV感染可能导致宫颈癌。

埃博拉:在2014-2016年埃博拉爆发期间,NIH和其他机构的科学家与私营部门展开合作,成功完成了埃博拉疫苗的临床试验。最近的更多研究表明这些疫苗非常安全,并且能够引起免疫反应。

寨卡:疫苗研究中心正在研发几种预防寨卡病毒的疫苗。这种病毒经由蚊子传播,最近使巴西超过100万人感染,被认为是导致新生儿小头症的原因。寨卡病毒与西尼罗病毒有相关性,该疫苗的研发正是以能有效预防西尼罗病毒的疫苗作为基础。

疟疾:疟疾每年使超过70万人丧命。虽然我们在疟疾疫苗研发方面取得了一些进展,但还是没能研制出一款能够在长时间内阻断疟疾传播的疫苗。NIH与其他一些机构正在支持这一领域具有前景的研究项目——他们的工作与我们基金会的工作正好互补,形成了很好的合作。

除此之外,还有肺炎、肝炎、结核病及许多其他疾病。

对我来说,科学被用来预防和治愈疾病的能力是不可思议的,而这种魔力就起源于像NIH这样的地方。通过增进我们对生物学的理解,他们的工作为私营药企和生物科技公司的创新奠定了基础(一项发表在《科学》杂志上的研究发现,在NIH的资金投入中,10%会直接产生发明专利,30%会产生科研论文,其发现又被应用于之后的发明专利)。这些创新带来了新的工作、新的产业和经济增长。NIH资助各州的科学家,在全国范围内支持着35万个就业岗位。

这是一项了不起的投资,它拓展了科学的疆界。就算他们没让我体验他们的VR设备,我还是会这么说。

Here’s How Virtual Reality Can Help Fight Disease

Last month, in a government building in Maryland, I put on virtual reality headset and got a glimpse of the future of medicine.

I was touring the Vaccine Research Center, located on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the federal agency that runs public medical research in the United States. Our foundation has been working with the NIH for years—it’s one of the most important research relationship we have—and we get together occasionally to check in on our progress. After a morning of meetings, I got to visit the vaccine center with the institute’s director, Francis Collins, and his colleague Tony Fauci.

Our tour included a very cool demonstration of how researchers are using VR to examine viruses for weak spots that they could target in making avaccine or drug. This state-of-the-art approach could lead to a universal flu vaccine—as opposed to today’s seasonal variety—and hopefully one day to an HIV vaccine. (I’m investing in a private company that’s doing similar work.)

That virtual reality model is just one example of the NIH’s mind-blowing work. In the United States, the NIH has played a key role in everything from lowering the death rates from heart disease and stroke to a dramatic decline in tooth decay. Today, alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s helping us prepare for the next epidemic, which could kill tens of millions of people if we’re not ready for it.

Here are some of the other diseases the NIH is working on:

HIV/AIDS. NIH researchers were instrumental in developing anti-retroviral drugs, which have saved the lives of 17 million people with HIV. Now, as I saw on my visit to the VRC, they are leading the world in the effort to develop an HIV vaccine.

Cancer. NIH research has led to new ways to treat cancer by shoring up the body’s ability to fight the disease, including approaches that keep tumors from avoiding the immune system’s defenses. And it was a major player in the creation of vaccines that prevent HPV, a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

Ebola.During the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16, scientists from the NIH and other agencies worked with the private sector on successful clinical trials of potential Ebola vaccines. More recent studies have shown that their vaccines are safe and able to produce an immune response.

Zika.The VRC is developing several vaccines for this mosquito-borne virus, which recently infected more than 1 million people in Brazil and is suspected of causing babies to be born with a small head and brain. The vaccine is based on effective vaccines for the West Nile virus, which is related to Zika.

Malaria.It kills more than 700,000 people a year. While there’s been some progress on a malaria vaccine, we don’t yet have one that blocks transmission of the disease over a long period. The NIH is one of the agencies supporting promising research in this area—and its work complements our foundation’s, so it’s a great partnership.

Plus pneumonia, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and many others.

To me, the ability of science to prevent and cure disease is magical—and the magic starts in places like the NIH. By advancing our understanding of biology, their work lays the foundation for innovation by private drug companies and biotech firms.(Onestudy published inSciencefound that “about 10 percent of NIH grants generate a patent directly but 30 percent generate articles that are subsequently cited by patents.”) Then those innovations lead to new jobs, new industries, and economic growth. The NIH funds scientists in every state and supportsmore than 350,000 jobsnationwide.

It’s a fantastic investment that is advancing the frontiers of science. And I would say that even if they didn’t let me try out their VR gear.


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