How early diagnosis can transform health care

Mirxes’ Dr. Zhou Lihan shares his purpose and passion for a more proactive approach to medicine.

In brief

  • Proactive care is superior to reactive care for all the stakeholders across the health care ecosystem.
  • A mindset shift is needed in order for preventative care to materialize. Big data will move us from population diagnostics to personalized diagnostics.

EY Global Health Sciences and Wellness Leader, Pamela Spence, recently had the chance to speak with Dr. Zhou Lihan, the co-founder and CEO of Mirxes, a biotechnology company.

During their discussion, Dr. Lihan explained the need for a more proactive approach to medicine. Over the past 10 years, he explained, the life sciences industry has come to realize that, even if it can develop a magic pill for cancer, the patients would still need much earlier diagnosis and treatment to get the best health outcomes. Under his leadership, Mirxes has created state-of-the-art diagnostic tools for cancer, cardiovascular, infectious, and other diseases.


Countries which focus on early diagnosis, Dr. Lihan explained, not only achieve better survival rates, but also reduce health care costs overall.


One silver lining of the recent pandemic, Dr. Lihan suggested, was that it raised awareness of RNA technologies, critical to the creation of the COVID-19 vaccines. Scientists like Dr. Lihan’s team at Mirxes, have learned how to diagnose even small, early-stage cancers, by achieving high-resolution detection of tell-tale RNA signals in the blood. As Pamela Spence and Dr. Lihan concurred, better-curated big data will increase the precision of our diagnostic tools, moving medicine away from a population-average model towards a personalized and precise approach.


However, as their discussion highlighted, shifting medicine towards a more proactive approach needs not just better technology, but also a mindset shift. Dr. Lihan pointed out that Eastern medicine has always emphasized the superiority of prevention over treatment, but highlighted the “discipline” needed to achieve prevention, comparing it with the need to exercise or to have insurance, focusing not on the immediate present, but on the benefits we can gain decades into the future by taking these steps.


Dr. Lihan once more highlighted the need for the right mindset when he considered the advice he would have liked to have given to his younger self: He spoke of the need to be both “aggressive” and “patient” simultaneously, seizing early the opportunities from scientific breakthroughs, but having the sustained focus needed to bring these innovations to maturity. As Mirxes continues to pursue the promise and potential of intervening earlier to prevent disease, the EY organization is proud to honor Dr. Lihan’s achievements in health care. EY teams will continue to bring together stakeholders to drive communication and collaboration on the major challenges and opportunities in health care around the globe.


Watch Dr. Lihan’s story in “The Unstoppables 3” now available on demand on


Dr. Zhou Lihan, co-founder and CEO of Mirxes, explained how a mindset shift is needed to move to preventative care, which can then lead to better care.

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