Investors May Want To Prepare For A 'Pandemic Era'

The entire global economy has been radically altered by COVID-19. For most industries, it has been a loss, but for major players at the crossroads of AI, public health, and biotechnology, it is proving to be a major accelerant.

Here's what Woody Preucil, senior managing director at 13D Global Strategy and Research, had to say in a recent interview with FS Insider about their outlook (see AI, Global Health Surveillance, and the Pandemic Era for audio).

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Investing for the 'Pandemic Era'

The pandemic marks a major inflection point for health surveillance technology, Preucil stated. The virus hit at a time where public health funding around the world has been neglected for the last two decades. That's all changing now.

In light of the pandemic’s effects, we are on the cusp of seeing massive new investments in public health and, if health experts like Dr. Fauci are correct that we've entered a new 'pandemic era,' it is likely such investments will continue.

“If you look at the countries that have done well in terms of managing Covid, maintaining low per-capita mortality rates, they all share common traits and strategies,” Preucil said. “They all implemented early planning and tracking. They're all screening for infection, performing comprehensive contact tracing, and requiring strict quarantines. … They're already beginning to lead in crisis management efforts. AI and big data have helped several countries facilitate Covid-19 preparedness through geographic tracking of the infection.”

This approach relies on massive amounts of information gathering, Preucil noted, and on proper safeguards against misuse of data. Europe is leading in this area because they've proposed laws allowing data to be retained for only 14 days to reduce privacy risks. Some European nations are also deploying opt-in smartphone tracking applications with anonymized data, no central databases, no GPS information, and similar measures, to prevent abuse.

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