Dr. Roger Kornberg: Three “Old Problems” and “New Approaches” for the Next Step of Human Health | BEYOND Expo 2022

Technological innovation and social impact have always been the focus of BEYOND Expo. From 8:45 am to 10:00 am on September 21st, the opening ceremony of the 2nd BEYOND International Technology Innovation Expo (hereinafter referred to as “BEYOND Expo 2022”) was held in BEYOND Metaverse.

Around the theme of the opening ceremony of BEYOND Expo2022 – “What’s Next?”, the organizing committee invited Dr. Roger Kornberg, the 2006 Nobel Laureate, Chairman of the World Association of Top Scientists, and Founder of Sino-Israeli Hyde; Zheng Xuexuan, Chairman and Party Secretary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation; Shi Yigong, President of West Lake University, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Founder of CATL , Chairman and CEO Zeng Yuqun; Hillhouse founder Zhang Lei; Merck China President, Merck Electronic Technology Executive Vice President An Gaobo; Dripguantong Group Founder and Chairman Li XiaojiaGathered in the BEYOND Metaverse, shared insights on hot topics such as the latest trends in the industry, cutting-edge technological innovation concepts, and the impact of technology in the world of future living, and talked about the future of global technological innovation.

Among them, regarding the future development of human health, Dr. Roger Kornberg briefly introduced some potential solutions in the current technology industry and society through keynote speeches focusing on three long-standing historical issues in this field.

Dr. Roger Kornberg first stated that these long-standing challenges are nowBetter medicines at lower cost and faster,Future Pandemic Preparedness,preventionthese three aspects.

Specifically, he pointed out that at this stage, in terms of drug research and development, because the process often requires numerous attempts for continuous optimization, the entire process will be very limited by time and money, and will often fail to pass clinical trials. .

Faced with this problem, advanced computing may be a good solution. However, at present, there are corresponding drawbacks in the calculation of both chemical forces and quantum mechanical forces, and it is difficult to achieve a balance between accuracy and efficiency. However, the emergence of a new advanced computing method based on quantum mechanical calculation methods may well meet these two needs.

Secondly, he said that in terms of pandemic preparedness, the emergence of the new crown epidemic has obviously made this challenge more important to the outside world. To this end, a ribonucleic acid (RNA)-based therapy is likely to be a good solution to this problem. He further pointed out that instead of using messenger RNA to create a vaccine, the therapy uses small interfering RNA to stop the progression of a viral infection, interfering with pathways that cause cells to multiply wildly or develop cancer.

Previously, this therapy was limited by the fact that the small interfering RNA itself was too small and charged too high. However, recently the industry has discovered a potential response. And this method has been used to develop drugs to treat the new coronavirus, and has achieved certain results.

Third, Dr. Roger Kornberg pointed out that at the preventive level, take the problem of environmental pollution as an example, which can cause several trillion dollars in losses every year. However, people are not helpless, a mobile phone software that monitors environmental parameters based on the audio and video functions on the mobile phone can help people cope with this. Moreover, this technology can create a considerable information database. This is of great value for human health, for insurance against disease and other environmental consequences, and municipalities can use the database to build smart cities and more.

Finally, he also called, “The three examples I gave are mature and ready to use. In the next few decades we should have cheaper and better medicines; there should be no more pandemics; and finally we should be able to stay safe from danger and the environment under the protection of a personal warning system. “

Here is the full text of the speech:

I want to talk to you about what’s next for human health, and I’ll touch on some old questions and new approaches. The so-called old problems are long-standing challenges. Today, around the three challenges, the so-called new methods have emerged to solve these major problems.

These long-standing challenges include producing better medicines at lower cost and faster, and secondly, future pandemic preparedness. The last thing is prevention. Of course prevention is better than cure. As the saying goes, prevention should be the mainstay and treatment should be supplemented. There is no doubt that if a disease can be prevented, it is definitely better than allowing it to develop and then trying to cure it.

Regarding the first challenge to develop better drugs at a faster rate and at a lower cost, let me explain that the current optimal approach to drug development requires the molecular structure of a candidate drug, which is compatible with the target protein, based on the structure Drug candidates are redesigned to improve their fit to the target, and the optimized designs are then chemically synthesized and tested. This process is repeated numerous times to optimize further structure establishment, and molecular design, synthesis and testing are repeated many times. This process is expensive and laborious. It takes a lot of money and a lot of time. The entire process is limited by time and money, and the resulting drugs often fail clinical trials. The solution to this problem is to introduce advanced computing. For a long time, we have hoped that computer-aided drug design would improve this process, the problem is that until now it has not been possible or difficult to achieve the desired effect. This is because the strength of interactions between potential drugs and targets is limited by computational power, as determined by computational means.

In an ideal state, one uses all chemical forces to calculate, and the other uses quantum mechanics to calculate. Sadly, it would take at least a trillion years to fully compute the design of a molecule with this method. Currently available methods are faster and can be completed in minutes, but do not achieve the required accuracy. The so-called new method is a quantum mechanical calculation method, which can not only be fast and accurate, but also meet the requirements. With the new approach just put into use, it will be possible to make more powerful molecules faster and in less time, eventually without any synthesis or experimentation.

The second long-standing challenge I want to talk about is future pandemic preparedness. Obviously this has become very important after the Covid-19 pandemic that we have only experienced. The solution to this problem comes from ribonucleic acid therapy, I don’t mean the use of messenger ribonucleic acid to produce vaccines, but ribonucleic acid molecules that are a hundred to a thousand times smaller, only 20-25 in length ribonucleic acid building structures or nucleosides acid, these are called small interfering RNAs. If they were introduced into the cell, the gene sequence in the messenger RNA would be recognized, corresponding to the gene sequence in the small interfering RNA, and a perfect pairing would guide the messenger RNA toward death.

Introducing siRNA into cells in this way can stop viral infection from progressing, interfering with pathways that cause cells to multiply wildly or develop cancer. The problem with this approach is that siRNAs are about 20 to 25 nuclei in length. Glycosides, which are still too bulky and charged too high to get into cells, to cross surfaces, to cross the cell membrane around each cell.

A tiny change recently discovered solves this problem. A small molecule can be attached to ribonucleic acid to help it break through quickly. The rapid breakthrough of small interference ribonucleic acid and the accumulation of proteins that can destroy viruses or other malicious molecules in cells are used to develop drugs for the treatment of new coronaviruses , the new crown drug was a huge success, killing 99.9% of the virus in an infected animal.

The importance of this method is not only that it works well, in the examples I mentioned or in others, and is able to instantly eliminate any emerging virus, or any variant of an existing virus, which The genome sequence of the virus can be identified in just one page.

The corresponding sequence of small interfering RNA is automatically generated on the machine, so it only takes a few days from the emergence of a new virus to the birth of a therapeutic drug. It must also be mentioned that small interfering RNAs stay in cells for a long time, so small interfering RNA drugs not only have therapeutic effects but also have protective effects. Weeks and maybe more, this is the obvious solution, not only to prepare for future pandemics but also for viral diseases and many other diseases, and it’s an amazing new approach that’s only just starting to come into play.

Finally, let’s talk about prevention. Prevention comes in many forms, and I cite an important recent example involving air pollution, which we know is an urgent problem that afflicts the world and kills millions of people every year. , while tens of thousands of people are unable to continue to work or carry out other activities due to illness, the annual loss of the world is estimated to be trillions of dollars.

The solution to this problem was to develop a detection software to provide alerts to individuals exposed to air pollution, and a new, I should say “magic” software was born. It can be installed in any mobile phone, even the simplest old phone can be used. The software uses the audio and video capabilities of your phone to measure every environmental parameter with extreme precision, including the concentration of particulate matter in the air, especially PM2.5 particles, which cause the worst air pollution hazard. But again, the software I just mentioned can also measure the temperature around a person from a mobile phone with an error of less than 1°C, it can also measure humidity, wind direction and everything you want to know, it can estimate UV exposure, exposure to harmful noise , the mobile phone then becomes a warning system to warn of all potential environmental hazards.

When people carry this mobile phone, the mobile phone can prevent people from contacting the environment that may cause disease or even disability. In fact, it can also help save energy. This is also an urgent problem faced by the world, so there is no need to give the whole building A house or air conditioning a certain part of a house or building, just pay attention to the high or low temperature environment around you.

Last but not least, when the software is installed on millions of mobile phones, this technology is able to create extraordinary databases. A huge database of information is of great value for human health, for insurance against disease and other environmental consequences, and municipalities can use the database to build smart cities and more.

To summarize, the three long-term untapped challenges I describe are developing better medicines, future pandemic preparedness, and disease prevention without better medicines. The solution is at hand, and the three examples I’ve given are all mature and ready to use. In the next few decades we should have cheaper and better medicines; there should be no more pandemics; and finally we should be able to stay safe from danger and the environment under the protection of a personal warning system. Thanks!

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