Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on March 29, 2020
Recently, CABS, the Chinese American Biopharmaceutical Society hosted a webinar on the topic, “COVID-19 Clinical Treatment and Research Experiences from China”, with Dr. Wenhong Zhang. Dr. Zhang is Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases in Shanghai and leader of Anti-Covid-19 team. He is also on Chinese Society of Infectious Disease and with Chinese Association of Internal Medicine. During the fight against Covid-19, Dr. Zhang led the Shanghai team to formulate a clinical treatment and containment plan.
An article in scientific publication Lancet predicted in late January that after Wuhan, Shanghai can be the epicenter of the virus with as many as 800,000 cases. However, with very early focus on containment and reasonable social distancing (even without complete lockdown measures), Shanghai managed to restrict the spread to about 4,000 cases. The key was that the healthcare system went on full alert when they had their very first case of a person traveling from Wuhan.
Dr. Zhang shared many details of their process for containing the spread and answered questions sent by the audience members. I have captured a few of the nuggets from his talk and I am sharing them below.
Diagnosis: Immediately they optimized diagnostics and did all needed tests for suspected patients. Shanghai made separate fever clinics and all patients who met 1 epidemiology criteria plus one clinical criteria were encouraged to go to these clinics. Suspected Covid-19 patients were sent to separate quarantine wards for full testing, and while they awaited results. If the results came back positive, they were sent to separate hospitals for quarantine stay and were tested again, before release.
Further, while in the US some hospitals first tested for flu and other viruses and if the patient tested positive for any of them then they were not tested for coronavirus, Shanghai tested all suspect cases for coronavirus. Dr. Zhang said that they have found that there are a lot of co-infections so a person can have regular flu virus plus coronavirus. Additionally, they found a high negative rate in PCR testing, while a positive rate was around 70%. Therefore, despite negative test results, if the patient was highly suspect than they did more testing. They did not rely on CT scans because they found that a chest CT cannot precisely confirm Covid and all cases needed molecular diagnosis.
Detailed process in place: Shanghai had a very detailed process in place for the steps to be taken for patients in the first screen, then first test, then when tested positive, if tested negative, and for followup. Timely diagnosis and timely distancing and quarantine is very important, said Dr. Zhang. Immediate separation and early control of local transmission is the key to stop the Covid-19 disease spread, said Dr. Zhang. This is something that did not happen in Italy. Almost all of their early cases were of foreigners. Eventually all of their cases and high death toll has been among the local population.
Treatment Options: Dr. Zhang shared that over 95% of the patients recovered and eventually were released. One patient died. There has been debate around anti-viral treatments. Dr. Zhang said, these treatments don’t seem to be effective. China also used hydroxychloroquine (widely touted malaria drug) to treat Covid patients and did not find it to be effective. However, it can have compassionate use since it shows little lasting side effects, said Dr. Zhang. Although he did not observe clinical evidence of anticoagulants, he said, it is possible that early anticoagulation may block clotting and eventually reduce the risk of major organ damage.
Respiratory Treatment: Dr. Zhang shared that the most fundamental treatment in keeping patients alive is respiratory treatment. We have a narrow window to stop progression from mild symptoms to severe symptoms, said Dr. Zhang. Low and short duration corticosteroids may stop progression and we need more studies to find that out. Life support for critically ill patients is crucial. Timely intervention with mask oxygen inhalation, nasal cannula oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation etc. can prolong life until the body’s immune system gets critical time to fight off the virus.
Medical Personnel: In Shanghai, strict following of protocol, translated into not a single infection spreading into the healthcare professionals. Highly qualified and standardized process included appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) with gowns, goggles, masks, double layer gloves and shoe covers. Healthcare professionals were asked to never share a meal with others at home, during the time this contagion was active. As far as possible, the patients were kept in negative pressure wards and surfaces were cleaned with disinfectants every 4 hours.
Stay tuned for my next article on how China effectively used high tech, specifically big data and coupled it with public awareness and public participation to contain the virus. Please note: I am not a fan of, or in any way endorsing communism or authoritarianism. And yet, perhaps there are lessons even for Western democracies, to pay heed to early signs and implement containment strategies. And that is exactly what Bill Gates was referring in 2015, when he spoke at TedTalks and warned us about a virus pandemic that can possibly kill millions. That is what various scientists have been warning of, for years.
અનામી એટલે… વિષય ઉપર…. માત્ર વ્યક્તિઓને જ નહિ, પરંતુ લાગણીઓને પણ આપણે નામ આપીએ છીએ અને ક્યારેક તે નામ પ્રબળ લાગણીઓને દર્શાવવા માટે પૂરક નથી.
અત્યારે કોરોનવાઈરસ ને લીધે આપણે મળવાનું નથી અને અંતર રાખવાનું છે. ઘરમાં સાથે રહેતા પણ એકબીજાને મોકળાશ આપવી પડે છે. મારી દીકરી કોરોનવાઈરસ દર્દીઓ જોડે કામ કરે છે તેને હું મળી સકતી નથી પણ તેને યાદ રાખીને બે વાત કરું છું.
ખલિલ જિબ્રાને કહ્યું છે ।…
“તમારી એકતામાં અંતર રહેવા દ્યો. વચ્ચે થોડી જગા રાખો, એકમેકને મોકળાશ આપો અને આકાશના પવનને વચ્ચે નૃત્ય કરવા દો. પ્રેમ કરો પણ પ્રેમ ને બંધન ન બનાવો। સાથે ગાઓ, આનંદ કરો, પરંતુ દરેકને એકલા રહેવા દો, જેમ વીણા ના તાર અલગ હોય છે, છતાં સાથે મળીને સંગીત ના સુર કાઢે છે. એકમેક જોડે ઉભા રહો પણ એકદમ નજીક નહિ; એ રીતે જેમ મંદિર ના થાંભલા સાથે ઉભા રહીને આખું મંદિર ઊંચકી રાખી શકે છે તેમ”.
બીજું, જીવન ના સાચા બંધનોને અકબંધ રાખનાર એક અનામી લાગણી, અનામી તાકાત છે, જે તેમને તૂટવા નહિ દ્યે. તેવા ઊંડા બંધન ને કદાચ શબ્દોમાં વર્ણવી ન શકું તો પણ આપણે જાણીએ છીએ તેવી અનામી તાકાત પ્રેમ વચ્ચે અંતર હોય ત્યારે પણ પ્રેમ ના તાંતણાને ટકાવી રાખે છે.
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on March 23, 2020
The looming threat of Covid-19 and the grim reality of the toll that novel coronavirus takes on humankind, makes it imperative that we find a way to prevent the spread faster and with less cost. Currently nine out of ten drug therapies fail mostly between phase 1 trials and regulatory approval. The estimated cost of developing a new treatment is around staggering US $2.6 billion. While this article won’t address it, I want to mention that many bio/pharma companies are working with repurposed drugs to find a cure and at least 69 drugs have been identified as treatment possibilities. Drugs also have side effects and need to be tested for safety. Let us focus for a while on search for the vaccine.
Many companies including Moderna, CureVac and BioNTech are working on vaccines. With the help of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and other technologies the hunt for new pharmaceuticals and appropriate chemicals is expected to be quicker, cheaper and more effective. Novel coronavirus presents the most unprecedented challenge to date because of the speed with which it spreads.
Who better than a supercomputer made by a company that has been on the cutting edge of innovation for over a century, to take on this speed challenge? IBM scientists instructed the world’s fastest computer to tackle this challenge at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Summit can run 200 quadrillion computations per second. The scientists ran thousands of simulations to analyse which drug compounds could stop the coronavirus from infecting the host cells.
Summit, an IBM supercomputer equipped with the “brain of AI” identified 77 compounds (from over 8000 compounds) that could be efficacious in preventing coronavirus from spreading in the host. This is promising news in humanity’s quest for an effective vaccine against the virus. These findings are published in the journal ChemRxiv and give us hope although road is still long to get there.
With increasing computer processing power and advanced algorithms, AI has been employed to analyze large data sets with greater efficiency and will likely lead to many exciting innovations. While AI and ML show promise to change every industry sector for the better, artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning have become the most widely discussed topics in the healthcare sector and the excitement keeps growing.
I will be looking forward to hearing about new innovations AI/ML at #TiEcon2020. Stay tuned for new dates for the conference at http://www.tiecon.org and on this blog.
ઓસ્ટ્રિયામાં વિક્ટર ફ્રેન્કલ નામના એક ન્યુરોલોજિસ્ટ વસતા હતા. તેમને નાઝી કોન્સેન્ટ્રેશન કેમ્પ માં કેદ કરવામાં આવેલ અને ત્યાં અસહ્ય હાલતમાં રહેતા રહેતા તેમણે એક ચોપડી લખવાનું વિચાર્યું અને કેદ માંથી બહાર આવ્યા બાદ તે પ્રકાશિત થઇ તે ચોપડી નું નામ છે – “અર્થ ની શોધ” સર્ચ ફોર મીનિંગ. જીવન માં આપણે કૈક મીનિંગ કૈક અર્થ શોધતા હોઈએ છીએ. અર્થ વગરનું જીવન ડેડ જીવન છે.
ફ્રેન્કલ ના કહેવા પ્રમાણે જીવન ત્રણ રીતે અર્થસભર બને છે. 1) હેતુપૂર્ણ કાર્ય। રિટાયર્ડ માણસ અથવા ઘરકામ કરતી સ્ત્રી પણ હેતુપૂર્ણ કાર્ય કરતા હોય છે જેમાં તેમને સંતોષ પ્રાપ્ત થાય છે ને જીવન ની આશા બનેલી રહે છે. 2) પ્રેમ। તેમની અનુભૂતિ નું વર્ણન કરતા ફ્રેન્કલ કહે છે કે ગાર્ડ તેમને મારી મારીને કામ કઢાવે ત્યારે પણ તેઓ તેમના મનમાં તેમની પત્ની જોડે વાત કરી લેતા. અવારનવાર તેમને તેમની પત્ની નો અવાજ સંભળાતો અને તેઓ માનતા હતા કે અને તેમના કુટુંબ તરફ ના પ્રેમ ને લીધે અને ફરી મળવાની આશાએ જ તેમને જીવાડી રાખ્યા. અને 3) પડકારનો સામનો કરવાની હિમ્મત. સુખ અને દુઃખ જીવનનાજ બે પાસા છે. સુખ ઘણીવાર ઢોલ વગાડતું આવે છે જયારે દુઃખ અવાજ વગર આવીને ઉભું રહે છે. પણ જો મુસીબત અને દુઃખ નો પડકાર જીલવાની હિમ્મત વ્યક્તિ હારી જાય ત્યારે જીવન ધીમે ધીમે બુજાય જાય છે. ફ્રાંકેલે કહ્યું કે વ્યક્તિ પાસેથી તેની દરેક સ્વતંત્રતા બીજા છીનવી શકે છે, સિવાય એક. ગમે તે પરિસ્થિતિ માં કેવું વલણ ધારણ કરવું તે આપણા હાથ માં છે. અને તે સ્વતંત્રતા માં જે વ્યક્તિ હકારાત્મક અભિગમ ધારણ કરી ને મુસીબત નો સામનો કરે છે તે વલણ તેને જીવન અને અર્થ બક્ષે છે.
અને હેતુ, અર્થ, પ્રેમ, અને હકારાત્મક વલણ સાથેની જિંદગી એટલે જીવન.
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship on March 18, 2020
With the coronavirus travel restrictions and stay in place edicts, there are concerns regarding the future of work. Coronavirus has impacted and disrupted supply chains, has led to canceled conferences and trainings, including postponement of TiEcon 2020, and employees are asked to work from home.
However, it is not just a matter of asking people to work remotely, with a laptop. People will need the right tools, secure access to the company network through VPN and other collaboration tools. Additionally, people will need devices that are more powerful and in some cases are smart enough to overtake cloud capabilities to drive new and exciting IOT applications. Increasingly, powerful and smart devices are already helping reduce data center loads. This ability to do on-device processing and refined analytics remotely, is what is called “edge computing”.
In remote locations where connectivity to centralized locations is limited, edge computing enables speed and efficiency by bringing computation power closer to IOT sensors, and smart phones and closer to end users. As everyday devices continue to become more smart and powerful, employees will be doing more with them and there will be more opportunities to create value for external and internal customers in our changing employment landscape.
TiEcon2020 has an excellent lineup of speakers on edge computing, during its upcoming conference before the end of this year. Stay tuned. For tracks and continuous updates, go to www.tiecon.org .
આજે એક ફિલ્મ ની વાત કરીએ. અલંકૃતા શ્રીવાસ્તવ દ્વારા દિગ્દર્શિત ફિલ્મ, “લિપસ્ટિક અંડર માય બુરખા” માં ચાર સ્ત્રીઓની વાત કહેવામાં આવી છે. રિહાના ઘરે બુરખામાં બંધ હોય છે અને તેની મા ને લોકોના બુરખા સીવડાવવામાં મદદ કરે છે. પરંતુ ઘરની બહાર નીકળતાંજ બુરખો બેગ માં નાખી અને જીન્સ પહેરીને લેડ ઝેપલિન ના ગીતા ગણગણે છે. શીરીન પતિ ના હાથે માર ખાય છે પણ પતિ કામ ઉપર જાય તે દરમ્યાન સેલ્સ ગર્લ નું કામ કરીને જોરદાર પૈસા બનાવે છે. બ્યુટીશ્યન નું કામ કરતી લીલા સંભોગ માં શાંતિ મેળવે છે અને દિલ નું દર્દ દૂર કરે છે. અને મોટી વયની ઉષા ને એક બુઆજી તરીકે ઘરે ખુબ માન મળે છે પણ રાત ના એકાંત માં તે પુરુષ સ્પર્શ માટે ઝંખે છે અને છુપી રીતે ફોન માં વાતો કરીને ફોન સંભોગ કરે છે.
આ ચાર મહિલાઓ, વાસ્તવિકતા અને સપના વચ્ચેની પાતળી રેખા ઉપર જીવે છે. અસહ્ય જીવન અને સામાજિક પ્રતિબંધો વચ્ચે રહીને પણ આવનાર ભવિષ્ય આજ કરતા સુંદર હશે તેવી કલ્પના દ્વારા, સપના સજીવન રાખીને, સપના ના સંગાથે, આનંદ ની પળ ની અનુભૂતિ તેઓ કરી લ્યે છે.
માર્ટિન લુથરે કહેલું કે આપણે મર્યાદિત નિરાશા સ્વીકારવી જોઈએ અને સ્વીકારવી પડે છે પરંતુ જીવનમાં આશા ક્યારેય ગુમાવવી જોઈએ નહીં। અને તેજ આશાના બળે આ દેશ માટેનું તેમનું સપનું સાકાર થયું.
સપના એટલે આશા.
Girls have dreams too. Seven year old Jerry Cobb (Sarah Mitchell) was obsessed with flying. But in 1960, a time of great social change in American history, certain dreams were still reserved for men. Laurel Ollstein’s dramatization of the true story of Jerry Cobb and her female peers in Mercury 13 astronaut training program, is currently playing at theatreworks in Palo Alto.
Stories of two aspiring women are intertwined in “They promised her the moon”. Jackie Cochran (Stacy Ross) used her wealth and connections and had already made history as a first woman pilot. Later, financed by her husband, she ran a successful cosmetics company. But for most women, these dreams were out of reach. Jackie Cochran had pushed for women to be allowed to fly for the military, and women did fly during the war. But when WWII ended, women were barred from flying most sophisticated planes.
During that time, as a little girl, Jerry Cobb seemed determined to fly and touch the heavens. Her pilot father, Harvey Cobb (Dan Hiatt) encouraged and inspired her and taught her some basics about airplanes. Jerry began flying at the age of twelve and by her twenties, she was setting world records in flying speeds, distance, and altitude. Inspired by her predecessor, Jackie Cochran who was pushing for female astronauts, Jerry Cobb enrolled in Mercury 13 program training to send astronauts into space. Jerrie Cobb beat most of her male counterparts as she went through strenuous rounds of tests and invasive physical and psychological evaluations.
Meanwhile different politics started getting played into the upper echelons of men, status, wealth and political power. Among the first group of astronauts was John Glenn, the new American hero. Given the culture of the time, Glenn and other men felt that since men flew combat missions, they were more equipped to become astronauts. Cochran was the lone woman in the boys club and sought to leverage her power. Cochran wasn’t happy that her popularity and status as the first woman pilot was getting replaced with a surge in Cobb’s popularity and she perhaps also felt that history would forget her completely if Cobb were to become the first woman astronaut in space.
Jerry Cobb passed away in 2019. Theatreworks’ celebration of Jerry Cobb in “They promised her the moon” reminds us that legacy is not only created with great achievements, but also by those who dare to dream. Entire cast is marvellous and Sarah Mitchell’s performance is truly unforgettable. Huge kudos to director, Giovanna Sardelli for this fabulous and not-to-miss show.
Unfortunately, to mitigate and contain coronavirus pandemic, Theatreworks is canceling all shows right now so please check the website at http://www.theatreworks.org for updates and stay safe.
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Musings on March 8, 2020
People often ask, how does promoting D&I within an organization help in exceeding revenue goals, expand market share, beat competition, and help gain happy customers? Some people may be surprised to hear that the business case for D&I not only exists but is now overwhelming. There is a growing body of research that shows that organizations that effectively weave in D&I into its strategy, policies and practice, tend to benefit in ways that go beyond the optics.
Let us just discuss two primary benefits today. A professional journey for an employee begins with getting hired. Research shows that leveraging D&I becomes a valuable asset in attracting the best talent and in retaining good talent. Companies that are diverse and value diversity, get an advantage of getting referrals from diverse sources.
Retention is a big challenge for many organizations, especially when unemployment rates are lower. Employee Benefit News (EBN) reports that the cost to an organization to hire a replacement and train and bring them up to speed, when an employee leaves, is about 33% of a worker’s annual salary. In dollar figures, for an employee earning a median salary of $100,000 a year, it is about $33,000. Hiring costs may be multiplied several fold for higher level employees, with unique skill sets. In organizations that value and leverage diversity, candidates feel more welcome and comfortable and are therefore less desirous of leaving. In addition to reduced costs, an organization that is competitive in its ability to retain talent also experiences reduced turnover hassle, reduced training time and therefore more productive time, increased overall productivity, better customer experience, knowledgeable company experts, and better morale.
As a Diversity and Inclusion trainer, I feel grateful that organizations are increasingly acknowledging this reality and make space for insightful conversations to take place on this issue. However, D&I training should never be about checking off the box and is also less effective when done in reaction to bad publicity or a law suit. D&I conversations are most impactful when engaged pro actively, and when diversity is leveraged as an asset rather than a liability to deal with. This year, the conference at @TiEsv @TiEcon #TiEcon2020 has a track dedicated to discussing diversity and inclusion in organizations. Registration is open at http://www.tie.org . Also here is a link http://bit.ly/38EWWAU to my diary and more of my thoughts on D&I and some advice to entrepreneurs.
Artificial Intelligence emphasizes the development of machines that think and reason like humans. As this technology is becoming more and more sophisticated where machines are acquiring an ability to learn, reason and self-correct, the applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are expanding and are becoming relevant to almost all professional areas.
At TieCon 2020, a bootcamp focused on AI/ML will provide an overview of the methodologies and its implications in many professions. Experts in the field will share information on deploying and monetizing AI applications.
Dr. Ronjan Nag will lead the workshop. Dr. Nag co-founded the technology company Lexicus that was acquired by Motorola in 1993 and Cellmania that was acquired by Research in Motion in 2010. Later, he served as Vice-President of both Motorola and Blackberry, and served as Chairman of Eratz Labs, which specializes in ML. Currently, Dr. Nag is a Fellow at Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute and is founder and managing director of R42 Group.
In addition to Dr. Nag, AI/ML bootcamp speakers will include several experts. Dr. David Stevens is an IP attorney specializing in patent prosecution, due diligence, infringement, right-to-practice, freedom-to-operate, licensing and litigation. Dr. Eric Saund, Principal of Saund Laboratories has over 50 patents, is widely published and his prototypes have served thousands of users. Vaidhi Nathan has 30+ years of experience as an entrepreneur and business leader and was founder and CEO of IntelliVision, an AI/Analytics focused company for videos and cameras that was acquired by Nortek Security and Control. Matteo Colombo has 18 years of information technology and consulting experience and is currently senior executive at KPMG.
In this bootcamp, attendees will learn the basics of how AI techniques work so they can effectively lead data science teams, evaluate business potential of AI projects before investing and critically evaluate AI products for business deals. This is a not-to-miss workshop for professionals who are attending #TiEcon2020 and work in AI/ML related field and need to expand their knowledge base. Registration is open at www.tiecon.org
Thappad begins with the routine family life of Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) a happily married housewife and her husband, Vikran (Pavail Gulati). Vikram works in a reputed company and is aggressively focused on climbing the corporate ladder that will ultimately take him to London, as the head honcho. Amrita is aware of how much his career means to Vikram, and is fully focused on supporting her husband. Her life revolves around looking for his comfort and attending to his mother, Sulochana (Tanvi Azmi).
Vikarm is elated when he is selected for the desired role and throws a celebration party to his friends. During the celebration, he gets the news that another white man is deemed more appropriate and Vikram would be reporting to him. Vikram has a heated argument with one of his superiors Rajhans, who was attending the party. When Amrita comes in the middle and tries to stop him for escalating the argument, Vikram’s anger turns on her and he slaps her. This thappad begins a chain of events and forms the core theme of the movie.
This movie is a MeToo moment for me and is personal for me in several ways, although for me, it wasn’t the first thappad and lack of apology. But after I let go of the first thappad after tearful apologies, the apologies became less frequent and genuine and then disappeared, and thappads became more routine. In a changing India, Amrita refuses to brush off this single incident of violence and public humiliation. When she questions her life choices and finally her marriage, Vikran propelled by anger and bad advice, transforms a no contest, mutual consent divorce into a full blown court battle. That was another MeToo moment for me and a reminder of the time when my appeal for mediation was thrown out and the accusations and fake accusations were launched, casting me as an abuser and mentally unstable. It is easy to be charming in public and in periods of happiness, but as a society and in family units, we need to ask a question, how do people react under stress and outside of the public eye, and do women get to bear the brunt of family stress and do they lose their right to be happy, one smile at a time?
The movie does not make light of a thappad, nor does it make a thappad bigger than what it is. Instead, what the film does is to serve as a thoughtful reminder that abuse should not be an acceptable aspect in a relationship and love, respect and happiness are closely tied together. Amrita says, मुझे वहां रहना नथी जहाँ पे मेरी वेल्यू न हो and she says, “I want to be happy and when I say, I am happy, I don’t want to look unreal”. Even while making a compelling case for a woman’s right to genuine happiness, the movie does not downgrade into men bashing thoughtlessness. And even when the movie focuses on happiness which would be at a higher level in Maslows’s hierarchy of needs, the film does not fail to show the struggles of women like Amrita’s maid, who are battling domestic violence at home on a daily basis, while working in low level jobs.
What is working so beautifully in the movie is that the dialogs are natural and low key. Huge kudos to Director Anubhav Sinha and co script writers Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo to not just stir up passions but make this a strongly worded film of significance. Tapsee Pannu is fabulous in conveying the impact of her experience and her dilemma without getting acrimonious, loud or overbearing. Her restrained acting with impactful dialogs serves as moments of reckoning about the assumptions and expectations surrounding women’s roles in Indian society. The entire cast including Kumud Sharma (Amrita’s adoring father), Pavil Gulati (Vikram), Ratna Pathak Shah (Amrita’s mother), Tanvi Azmi (Amrita’s mother in law), Maya Sarao (Amrita’s lawyer) and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan (Amrita’s maid) show the restraint and deliver a powerful film. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being perfect), I rate the film as 4.9.