How will we live and handle the immediate crisis as well as the uncertainty in the future? Dr. Supavud Saicheua, Advisor of Phatra Research Institute, Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group (KKP), has a good solution for managing the current Covid-19 outbreak while looking into the future of public health system so that we can be confident in case of the next global pandemic.
“I understand that the public health system doesn’t want high number of infected cases because the higher it is, the more resources needed and the system will be overwhelmed. So I understand why the public health sector doesn’t want to ease the lockdown quickly. But if you shut down the economy like this, I can say that there’s no way the government can fill it up. As long as the economy is shut down, there’s no production both in terms of products and services. No matter how much money the government put into the system, it won’t fix the basic problem that the GDP doesn’t grow because GDP comes from the products and services that you “forbid” to produce right now”. He continues, “Therefore, as an economist, I must say that we must open the economy no matter what. The government’s challenge is how to keep the daily number of new cases down to 30 once the economy reopens.”
Dr. Supavud proposes a solution, “Even though we can reopen the economy, but people dare not come out to spend. So we must rebuild their confidence by developing an effective TTIT (Test / Trace / Isolate / Treat) system. The testing system must give results very quickly; not having to wait 5 days. When the testing is done, there must be a good tracing system. Once we find an infected person, there must be an investigating system to find out whom the infected have dealings with during the past 2-3 days. Next is the isolating system for the infected individual and those involved. When someone got sick, the hospital must be ready.”
“The TTIT system that we build can handle any virus. When there’s the next outbreak, this is what we must do and then quickly decode the virus in order to learn about it faster. And then we’ll use the TTIT system to manage it.”
“Other sectors have all been disrupted except for public health. But I think that it is going to be severely and unexpectedly disrupted. That’s because after human genome can be decoded, the next step will be personalised treatment. In the future, if we can sequence everyone’s genome and install a small chip in our body, the data can be sent to a center which monitors our cells 24 hours a day. If one day, our body contracts the virus and our cells must fight it with antibodies, the center will know that we are ill and proceed to the next step by calling us to confirm a blood test, sending medicines via drone, and setting up teleconference with the doctor. That’s the new world that I guess will happen in the next 20-30 years”.
Interview Date : 20 April 2020
Interview : Siri-On Rhimpranee | Edit : Wanabud Yuphakaset | Image : Surachet Soparattanadilok