The Next Pandemic

COVID-19 has galvanized tech communities. The tens of billions we’re spending on vaccines, antivirals, tests, robots, and devices are transforming how we’ll respond to future outbreaks of infectious disease. Here’s How We Prepare for the Next Pandemic: If we keep…

COVID-19 has galvanized tech communities. The tens of billions we’re spending on vaccines, antivirals, tests, robots, and devices are transforming how we’ll respond to future outbreaks of infectious disease.

Here’s How We Prepare for the Next Pandemic:

If we keep developing the tech that has been supercharged for COVID-19, it never has to be this bad again By Eliza Strickland and Glenn Zorpette

1. GRAND BIOMEDICAL CHALLENGES
engineers with ventilators
The Great Ventilator Rush
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, engineers launched extraordinary crash programs that produced scores of ventilator designs. What will happen to them now? By Mark Harris

AI Vaccine Development Got Its First Big Tryout With COVID-19
Finding the precious few molecules that could end a pandemic is a moon shot worthy of today’s most cutting-edge AI By Emily Waltz

Can AI and Automation Deliver a COVID-19 Antiviral While It Still Matters?
Researchers are betting that new tools can cut drug discovery from 5 years to 6 months
By Megan Scudellari

2. TESTING, TRACING, AND MODELING
Researchers Are Getting Close to a Here-and-Now COVID-19 Test
Fast, high-tech, use-anywhere diagnostic tests are key to battling pandemics By Wudan Yan and David Schneider

Contact-Tracing Apps Struggle to Be Both Effective and Private
Google, Apple, and governments are asking people to opt in to unproven technologies By Jeremy Hsu

Why Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 Is So Damn Hard​
Too many of the models have led policymakers astray. Here’s how tomorrow’s models will get it right By Matthew Hutson

How Control Theory Can Help Us Control COVID-19
Using feedback, a standard tool in control engineering, we can manage our response to the pandemic for maximum survival while containing the damage to our economies By Greg Steward, Klaske van Heusden, and Guy A. Dumont

magnifying glass looking at a COVID-19 molecule illustration
3. TECH TAKES ON COVID-19
An airplane cabin being de contaminated using an UV light device
UV Light Might Keep the World Safe From the Coronavirus—and Whatever Comes Next​
If researchers can build better UV-C lights, they will be frontline weapons against the next pandemic
By Mark Anderson

Photo Essay: When Robots Became Essential Workers
Autonomous machines proved their worth in hospitals, offices, and on city streets
By Erico Guizzo and Randi Klett

Powering Through the Pandemic
Electric utilities reveal what worked and what didn’t in COVID-19 responses By Neil Savage

From top: Photo: JPL-Caltech/NASA; illustration: StoryTK; photo: Honeywell Aerospace
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