A Message from EMBS President, Shankar Subramaniam

A Message from EMBS President, Shankar Subramaniam 150 150 IEEE EMBS

Dear Fellow Members of EMBS,

As President of the Society, I would like to update you on the implications of COVID-19 to our activities and happenings. As all of us are aware, the Director of the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

The virus has impacted the majority of the countries in the world with over 100,000 affected and with over 4,000 losing their lives. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has cautioned us that effective vaccines are months to a year away and the consequences of the virus are going to get worse before any relief.

In response to the pandemic, IEEE and EMBS are making virtual several Technical Conferences and are watching with caution how the coming months will evolve and affect the scheduled future conferences. EMBS, which is a society at the interface of engineering and medicine, can play a significant role in addressing several challenges associated with treating the epidemic. Several EMBS members are actively engaged in advancing strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from engineering approaches to detection of the infected patients, scaling approaches to vaccine development and modeling the epidemiological data towards the dynamics of disease progression and containment.

Researchers at Columbia University and UC San Diego have developed new ways of detecting from radiological images of the patient lungs the presence of the virus. Several Biotechnology Companies are leading efforts to develop antibodies and vaccines. Several engineering laboratories across universities are making efforts to develop novel screening approaches. AI and learning approaches are increasingly used to develop statistical and computational models of COVID progression, spreading and containment.

The role of engineering in dealing with this crisis cannot be overemphasized. I want to encourage all the members to follow all the precautions advocated by the WHO and local governments as well as engage in promoting “engineering thinking” among all fellow-citizens in overcoming this pandemic. I will continue to keep you posted on EMBS engagements in combating COVID-19.

Shankar Subramaniam

President, IEEE EMBS