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The Health Age

July 26th, 2020 

By Regina E. Dugan

CEO, Leap

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Just as Sputnik ignited the Space Age, so, too, could the current coronavirus inspire a Health Age.

 

At Wellcome Leap, we believe that surprise can catalyze change. Just as Sputnik ignited the Space Age, so, too, could the current coronavirus inspire a Health Age. A new age where human health span coincides with human life span and we are healthy to our last breath. Where the power of biology and engineering combine to drive breakthroughs for all.

“Disease anywhere is a threat to health everywhere.”

Eliza Manningham-Buller

Chair of the Board of Governors, Wellcome Trust

The scientific and technical foundation exists. A 2020 McKinsey study estimates that “45% of the global disease burden could be addressed using science that is conceivable today.” New advancement and innovation can reduce the global disease burden, which will generate positive societal and economic outcomes in return.

“After all, few investments meet so many of today’s social needs, substantially improving well-being and reducing inequity, while also delivering an impressive shot in the arm to the global economy.”

McKinsey Global Institute, 2020

A Health Age will require a global, collaborative effort. New organizations, new streams of funding—both public and private—and new commitments to technological advancement and equity of access. It will also require that we embrace bold, risk-tolerant efforts, funded at scale—much like a DARPA, but for global health.

In 2018, the Wellcome Trust founded Wellcome Leap with that mission in mind. Leap’s ambition is to spark breakthrough advancements in health and do our part to build a Health Age. 

Let us begin.

“None of this work is beyond our capacity. At this moment in time, at this hinge in history, there is little question of whether we can build a Health Age. The question, instead, is whether we will.”

Regine E. Dugan

CEO, Leap

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