Opening Remarks by Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor at COVID-19 Conference: Sharing the International Lessons Learnt

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Ladies and gentlemen,

I warmly welcome you to today’s crucial conference to discuss and consolidate the key clinical learnings from across the globe as it relates to COVID-19.  My name is Dr Moshe Kantor, president of the Kantor Charitable Foundation, and I am delighted to support today’s event in collaboration with such outstanding medical and research institutions as the Royal Society of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic.

Let me begin today’s conference by expressing my eternal gratitude to each and every one of you that have been working so hard on the front line of this terrible disease. We do not need reminding of the shocking impact that COVID has inflicted on the healthcare industry globally, and yet clinicians everywhere, day after day, continue to put themselves and their families in harm’s way. Your dedication and commitment to selflessly improving the lives of others is truly humbling. And so, on behalf of everyone across the world, thank you.

Right now, our world is like a bus with two wheels hanging off an abyss. All eight billion of us, including the major global players, are inside the cabin, and it depends on our coordination and collaboration whether we fall into the abyss or stand on all four wheels and move to our mutual future! But the mega players are literally torn apart by contradictions over nuclear, economic, space, cyber, and other matters. COVID-19 has sharply aggravated an already critical situation in the area of extremism. We are seeing harsh manifestations of multidirectional racism. Therefore, combatting this pandemic has become more than a global issue – it’s an existential fight for our future.

And although we come from very different professions, I learnt very quickly just how much further the world could progress based on collaboration and a sharing mentality.   Progress is so much faster when national interests are set aside and commercial concerns are shelved for the greater good.

And that is the spirit in which this conference is convened. We have drawn together an international faculty of leading clinicians to distil the evidence and consider the lessons learned from the respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological responses to COVID-19. We are fortunate to be able to draw on leading experts from North America, Europe and Asia, not to mention the thousands of attendant clinicians that we welcome from every corner of the world. Our shared ambition is to learn the lessons of COVID-19, lessons that we are still learning today, in order that we can minimise the impact of future waves of the disease or plan more effectively for other pandemics. I am confident that your collective input today will make a real difference in our understanding of this pandemic and how to treat patients more effectively going forward.

To repeat again. History has shown us that pandemic, and the chaos it creates, can cause lasting damage, not just in terms of global economic shock, mass unemployment and widespread uncertainty. It can create fertile soil for the politics of despair and division. Remember that the last great pandemic, the Spanish flu, was quickly followed by the great depression and a rise in extremism which took over the power in Europe and division  which led to the tragedy of the Second World War.

The lessons from the past require us to set aside our own agendas in the collaborative pursuit of lasting solutions.

In this respect, the global medical research and pharmaceutical community are leading the way.  The final session of today’s conference will shine a light on the unprecedented effort to discover and roll out an effective vaccine. Now, as in the past, incredible feats can be achieved against seemingly impossible timelines but it only happens when driven by a powerful and shared goal.

And that is why I can end my introduction on a positive note. Despite all that has happened over the last six months, i remain optimistic.  That optimism is grounded in the knowledge that we do have a powerful and shared goal, and a commitment and dedication to achieve it.

I am excited about the possibilities that today’s conference will create.

Thank you very much.