Over the past two years, we’ve experienced the collision of the fast pandemic of COVID-19 with slow pandemics of obesity, diabetes and other chronic disease: the nonelderly with such underlying health issues were most likely to suffer serious illness or death. Our communities have been hit so hard because we were neither prepared for pandemic threats nor had sufficient health resilience. Too many people were too vulnerable because of their poor health — but it does not have to be this way.
Flagship's Preemptive Health & Medicine Initiative is pioneering a new field to protect, maintain, or improve people's health before they get sick. Starting with the premise that health should be accessible for all, this initiative is pursuing interventions that protect health from external threats (health security) and those that can prevent or delay the onset of diseases (preemptive medicine). This work has the potential to revolutionize the way we prepare for the next infectious disease threat and the way we prevent and preempt disease such as Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Preemptive Health is the defining challenge of our times. While COVID-19 has had devastating effects, we currently face the threat of far more deadly pandemics.
Sick care is costly because it focuses on the already sick when interventions are expensive and outcomes are poor. In contrast, Preemptive Health aims to protect, maintain and improve health rather than waiting for people to become sick.
The goal of “Preemptive Health” is to serve people before they become patients, adding years to life and life to their years.
Preemptive Health is a new field, distinct from today’s medicine. And while it shares the same goals with traditional public health, it is about the application of leading-edge biological sciences and digital technology to existing health goals.
Achieving our Preemptive Health aspiration will require engagement and participation by many partners across the private and public sectors, research and academia.
Several Flagship-founded companies are advancing these efforts from early cancer detection to identifying novel predisease biomarkers to neutralizing infections pathogen threats.