Jorge Espanha appointed General Manager of Oxitec do Brasil - ´New Leadership Agaisnt Zika
Oxitec Ltd. announced the appointment of Jorge España as general director of Oxitec do Brasil. Spain will oversee the Friendly™ Aedes implementation programs - an innovative and sustainable vector control solution - in Brazil.
Hadyn Parry, CEO of Oxitec, stated, “We are delighted to welcome Jorge to the Oxitec team. Jorge’s managerial experience in the life science sector and track record in marketing and driving growth will be an asset to the company as we continue to expand our operations in Brazil and beyond.”
Mr. Espanha brings to Oxitec over 20 years of marketing, commercial and operational experience in local, regional and global markets including the United States, Europe and Latin America. Most recently he was General Manager at Merial for Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. In October 2016, for the second time in four years, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in Brazilian Agribusiness by Dinheiro Rural Magazine. Prior to Merial, Mr. Espanha held key roles at Zoetis, Pfizer Animal Health, and SmithKline Beecham having a significant growth record in the businesses he managed. Mr. Espanha is also president of the Brazilian Association for Rural Marketing & Agribusiness (ABMR&A).
Mr. Espanha added, “It is an honour to be part of the Oxitec/Intrexon group. Oxitec has the noble mission of helping Brazilian authorities prevent the spread of vectors that transmit serious diseases and implement new technologies in Brazil.”
In partnership with the City of Piracicaba (BR), Oxitec do Brasil is currently developing the Friendly™ Aedes project in the municipality, releasing its genetically modified mosquito in an area of %u200B%u200Babout 65,000 inhabitants with the objective of suppressing the population of the dengue transmitter, Zika , Chikungunya and Yellow Fever. In October 2016, the company inaugurated its first large-scale Friendly™ Aedes factory in Piracicaba, with capacity to produce 60 million male mosquitoes per week. An opinion poll conducted in November showed that 92.8% of the city's population supports Oxitec's vector control solution.
In the laboratory, thousands of Aedes aegypti eggs in 2002 received an injection containing synthetic DNA with genes. One of these genes produces a protein that prevents the mosquito from reaching adulthood if it does not receive an antidote. The other gene produces a protein that causes the mosquito to glow under a microscope-specific light. These mosquitoes, with the additional genes, were then selected in the larval phase based on the brightness presented under the microscope and crossed between them to obtain the Friendly™ Aedes .After this phase, Friendly™ Aedes .Began to be reproduced in the laboratory and since then all his descendants carry the additional genes.
Regulation and results
Friendly™ Aedes Is released into the environment and crosses the wild females. Their offspring inherit the additional genes and die before reaching adulthood, decreasing the population of the next generations. Oxitec's solution is environmentally friendly, because Friendly™ Aedes. It does not reproduce with other species and does not perpetuate itself in the environment. In 2014, Friendly™ Aedes received commercial release of the National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio). In April 2016, the National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance (Anvisa) announced that it will grant an analogue of Special Temporary Registry for Friendly™ Aedes. Oxitec's technology has already achieved positive results in five different locations, three of them in Brazil. Released in neighborhoods of Juazeiro (BA) and Jacobina (BA), Friendly™ Aedes were able to reduce by up to 99% the wild population of Aedes aegypti in the treated areas. In Piracicaba (SP), preliminary results showed an 82% reduction in wild larvae in the Friendly™ Aedes treated areas compared to the untreated area.
Oxitec is a pioneer in the use of genetic engineering to control vectors and pests that spread diseases and destroys crops. It was founded in 2002 as a spin out of the University of Oxford (England). Aedes aegypti OX513A produced by Oxitec is popularly called Friendly™ Aedes!. It has acquired the name because of its fight against the wild Aedes aegypti, dengue transmitter, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. Projects carried out in the state of São Paulo and Bahia, in Brazil, reduced the wild population of the mosquito by up to 99%. Every year, from 20% to 40% of world food production is lost due to insects. To combat them, farmers spend billions of dollars in pesticides. With this challenge in mind, Oxitec also develops insects to combat agricultural pests in a sustainable way. Oxitec is a subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), which engineers biology to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
How UiPath robots are helping with the NHS backlog
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many hospitals to have logistical nightmares, as backlogs of surgeries built up as a result of cancellations. The BMJ has estimated it will take the UK's National Health Service (NHS) a year and a half to recover.
However software robots can help, by automating computer-based processes such as replenishing inventory, managing patient bookings, and digitising patient files. Mark O’Connor, Public Sector Director for Ireland at UiPath, tells us how they deployed robots at Mater Hospital in Dublin, saving clinicians valuable time.
When Did Mater Hospital implement the software robots - was it specifically to address the challenges of the pandemic?
The need for automation at Mater Hospital pre-existed the pandemic but it was the onset of COVID-19 that got the team to turn to the technology and start introducing software robots into the workflow of doctors and nurses.
The pandemic placed an increased administrative strain on the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) department at Mater Hospital in Dublin. To combat the problem and ensure that nurses could spend more time with their patients and less time on admin, the IPC deployed its first software robots in March 2020.
The IPC at Mater plans to continue using robots to manage data around drug resistant microbes such as MRSA once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
What tasks do they perform?
In the IPC at Mater Hospital, software robots have taken the task of reporting COVID-19 test results. Pre-automation, the process created during the 2003 SARS outbreak required a clinician to log into the laboratory system, extract a disease code and then manually enter the results into a data platform. This was hugely time consuming, taking up to three hours of a nurse’s day.
UiPath software robots are now responsible for this task. They process the data in a fraction of the time, distributing patient results in minutes and consequently freeing up to 18 hours of each IPC nurse’s time each week, and up to 936 hours over the course of a year. As a result, the healthcare professionals can spend more time caring for their patients and less time on repetitive tasks and admin work.
Is there any possibility of error with software robots, compared to humans?
By nature, humans are prone to make mistakes, especially when working under pressure, under strict deadlines and while handling a large volume of data while performing repetitive tasks.
Once taught the process, software robots, on the other hand, will follow the same steps every time without the risk of the inevitable human error. Simply speaking, robots can perform data-intensive tasks more quickly and accurately than humans can.
Which members of staff benefit the most, and what can they do with the time saved?
In the case of Mater Hospital, the IPC unit has adopted a robot for every nurse approach. This means that every nurse in the department has access to a robot to help reduce the burden of their admin work. Rather than spending time entering test results, they can focus on the work that requires their human ingenuity, empathy and skill – taking care of their patients.
In other sectors, the story is no different. Every job will have some repetitive nature to it. Whether that be a finance department processing thousands of invoices a day or simply having to send one daily email. If a task is repetitive and data-intensive, the chances are that a software robot can help. Just like with the nurses in the IPC, these employees can then focus on handling exceptions and on work that requires decision making or creativity - the work that people enjoy doing.
How can software robots most benefit healthcare providers both during a pandemic and beyond?
When the COVID-19 outbreak hit, software robots were deployed to lessen the administrative strain healthcare professionals were facing and give them more time to care for an increased number of patients. With hospitals around the world at capacity, every moment with a patient counted.
Now, the NHS and other healthcare providers face a huge backlog of routine surgeries and procedures following cancellations during the pandemic. In the UK alone, 5 million people are waiting for treatment and it’s estimated that this could cause 6,400 excess deaths by the end of next year if the problem isn’t rectified.
Many healthcare organisations have now acquired the skills needed to deploy automation, therefore it will be easier for them to build more robots to respond to the backlog going forwards. Software robots that had been processing registrations at COVID test sites, for example, could now be taught how to schedule procedures, process patient details or even manage procurement and recruitment to help streamline the processes associated with the backlog. The possibilities are vast.
The technology, however, should not be considered a short-term, tactical and reactive solution that can be deployed in times of crisis. Automation has the power to solve systematic problems that healthcare providers face year-round. Hospital managers should consider the wider challenge of dealing with endless repetitive work that saps the energy of professionals and turns attention away from patient care and discuss how investing in a long-term automation project could help alleviate these issues.
How widely adopted is this technology in healthcare at the moment?
Automation was being used in healthcare around the world before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 outbreak has certainly accelerated the trend.
Automation’s reach is wide. From the NHS Shared Business Service in the UK to the Cleveland Clinic in the US and healthcare organisations in the likes of Norway, India and Canada, we see a huge range of healthcare providers deploying automation technology.
Many healthcare providers, however, are still in the early stages of their journeys or are just discovering automation’s potential because of the pandemic. I expect to see the deployment of software robots in healthcare grow over the coming years as its benefits continue to be realised globally.
How do you see this technology evolving in the future?
If one thing is certain, it’s that the technology will continue to evolve and grow over time – and I believe there will come a point in time when all processes that can be automated, will be automated. This is known as the fully automated enterprise.
By joining all automation projects into one enterprise-wide effort, the healthcare industry can tap into the full benefits of the technology. This will involve software robots becoming increasingly intelligent in order to reach and improve more processes. Integrating the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into automation, for example, will allow providers to reach non-rule-based processes too.
We are already seeing steps towards this being taken by NHS Shared Business Service, for example. The organisation, which provides non-clinical services to around two-thirds of all NHS provider trusts and every clinical commissioning organisation in the UK, is working to create an entire eco-system of robots. It believes that no automation should be looked at in isolation, but rather the technology should stretch across departments and functions. As such, inefficiencies in the care pathway can be significantly reduced, saving healthcare providers a substantial amount of time and money.