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Friday, 17 April 2020

Prof. Laura Lechuga participates in a talk on the role of global cities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Organised by the Barcelona Science and Technology Diplomacy Hub, this was the third talk of a series of events devoted to science and diplomacy in relation to the management of global health crisis. Laura Lechuga shared the virtual stage with experts in bioinformatics, local governance and innovation in cities.

“Along human history, many of the most relevant advances in urban management were developed in response to public health crisis.” With this premise, Alexis Roig, CEO of SciTech DiploHub (Barcelona Science and Technology Diplomacy Hub) and Professor at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, presented the talk to discuss the role of global cities, particularly Barcelona, in the COVID-19 pandemic. This talk was the third of a series of events analysing different aspects of the reaction to this global health crisis: the role of international cooperation and the European Union, the response to the crisis in Iberoamerica, etc.

The session was moderated by Miquel Molina, Deputy Director of La Vanguardia, who commented briefly on the dark side of connectivity and density of global cities, as these characteristics usually are seen as positive but turn out to be somehow opposed to health in this pandemic context. He presented the speakers, Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments, Esteve Almirall, Director of the Center for Innovation in Cities at ESADE Business School, Alfonso Valencia, Director of the Life Sciences Department at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, and Laura Lechuga, Group Leader of the Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group at the ICN2.

Prof. Lechuga presented briefly the CoNVaT project, which wants to deploy a very fast system to diagnose the COVID-19, and discussed some of the problems with current diagnostic tests. Paradoxically, the rapid test cannot be developed so fast, because science requires reliability, which was clearly lacking in the tests that were bought by Spain or the UK at the beginning of the crisis. She also welcomed that the efforts made to develop a strong scientific ecosystem in Barcelona are being recognized.

Watch the video here: