Erin Perry: You focus on the role of Switzerland in the health tech business. Why is Switzerland playing a key role in this sector, and who are the other main players?
Eamonn Fitzgerald: In the article, I write about the work being done at the ETH in Zurich. And the ETH is what’s called a “STEM” university. “STEM” here means “science, technology, engineeringIngenieurwissenschaft(en)engineering and mathematics”. And the university is developing new courses, containing information technology components for people who want to study medicine. And it’s also doing a lot of ground-breakingbahnbrechendground-breaking research in this area. Now Switzerland has quite a long history in healthcare. If we go back to the middle of the last century or further, it was a time when tuberculosis killed millions of people. And many, many people were sent to Switzerland because it was felt that the mountain air would be good for their lungs. So Switzerland is building upon a tradition of healthcare, and today there are many, many interesting Swiss start-ups in the area of genetics, and the Swiss state is encouraging people to develop algorithms to find out what’s happening in the field of hospital records, to see what kind of information can be to extract sth.etw. gewinnenextracted from that. Also, in my English 4.0 column, I look at some of the developments in Germany and in Ireland and in Britain, and, of course, as in many areas, Israel is an important player. But in general, healthcare is one of the big-budget itemPostenitems, and each and every country wants to have solutions for something that is a fact of life, which is health and illness.
Interview part 2
We asked Eamonn whether technological breakthroughs are likely to reduce or increase the cost of healthcare in the future. Listen to his answer below.
Fitzgerald: I think it will be a bit of both, actually. The costs of getting a therapy improved are enormous. The bureaucracy is unbelievable. But for a good reason: we have lots of historical evidenceBelege aus der Vergangenheithistorical evidence of what can happen when a drug goes wrong, and then we see for generations the consequences of that kind of thing. So it’s very important that each and every thing is done properly to ensure that the drug that’s to approve (a drug)(ein Arzneimittel) zulassenapproved is the right drug. But that’s the bigger picturegrößerer Zusammenhangbigger picture. At the much more granularkörnig; hier: detailorientiertgranular level, as they say, what’s important is a therapy that perhaps will make the everyday life of the patient in an institution better. Here I’m thinking of something called “HAI”, which is “hospital acquired infection”. That means people go into hospitals for treatment and they end up getting sick in hospital, and sometimes they die in hospital because of that. And that’s because, in many cases, through lack of hygiene, or insufficient hygiene, or microbes that simply are not to capture sth.etw. erfassencaptured and killed by your traditional disinfection programme. And there’s a start-up in New York called Purple Sun, and it has developed a technology, which relies on ultra-violet light. And this light is far more effective at killing hospital bugKeimbugs than our traditional disinfectants.