Written By
Blake Byers

This morning GV brought together a group of leaders across technology, healthcare, and public policy to discuss the impact of COVID-19 with Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann. A GV advisor and physician-scientist who has spent forty years as an innovator in life sciences and business, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann has been on the front line of some of the most devastating diseases in our lifetimes. She began her career as a physician during the HIV epidemic in San Francisco in the 1980s. Years later, she became CEO of the Gates Foundation, where she worked towards eradicating polio throughout the world.

"The remedy to COVID-19 is leadership."

Our conversation ranged from ways society is changing as a result of the pandemic and current progress in developing a vaccine to opportunities for the technology world to help and how startups can navigate through this challenge.

Dr. Desmond-Hellmann observed that in every health crisis she's seen, medicine is only part of the solution. "The remedy to COVID-19 is leadership," she said. "If you consider the history of other pandemics we've collectively faced, people look toward humanity and want real leaders to emerge."

She also considered the mental health implications of this pandemic. "Fear can be healthy," she said. "But we must move from fear to ownership of our future in times of crisis."