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What It Means To 'Learn By Doing' When Fast-Tracking Clinical Trials

John Minchillo

On today's program: Pittsburgh scientists apply nimble rules to the coronavirus treatment testing process; how some PA manufacturers are adapting to make protective equipment, with and without government approval; Meals on Wheels continues with new best practices during the pandemic; and an update on the long-awaited Mon-Oakland Connector plan.

Researchers use AI to accelerate coronavirus testing treatments
(00:00 — 06:02) 

UPMC says it plans to use artificial intelligence to accelerate the timetable for winnowing out potential treatments for the coronavirus.

"Already there are hundreds of clinical trials that have been registered around the world," says Dr. Derek Angus, professor and chair of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Critical Care Medicine. Conventional clinical testing can take years. Angus says: "We do not have the luxury of time. We must try to learn while doing.”

90.5 WESA's Chris Potter explains what it means to "learn while doing" when fast-tracking human clinical trials.

‘Outlaw’ businesses make coronavirus equipment without state approval
(06:04 — 09:36)

Some manufacturers in Pennsylvania ordered closed by state officials are facing an uncomfortable choice right now: wait and see if they can get official permission to start producing the protective gear health care workers need to fight coronavirus or take the risk and start up anyway.

Keystone Crossroads’ Miles Bryan has the story one business that's decided to be a rebel for the cause. 

Midstate volunteers keep Meals on Wheels rolling during pandemic
(09:39 — 13:48)

People who provide essential services are changing the way they interact with others to minimize risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. WITF’s Rachel McDevitt checks in with Meals on Wheels volunteers in Dauphin County.

Getting to the heart of the Mon-Oakland Connector plan
(13:52 — 20:23)

An audit of a proposed shuttle service between Hazelwood and Oakland finds the connection would not meet the transit needs of residents or future growth at the 178-acre Hazelwood Green site. 

The advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit found existing bus routes and company shuttles do an equal or better job than the proposed Mon-Oakland Connector. City and Hazelwood Green officials say the audit used an old plan, but acknowledge a newer plan hasn’t been released to the public. 

90.5 WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss explains what comes next.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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