data analytics will help prevent future pandemics


Every day in the news we see the Johns Hopkins University count by country and by state of coronavirus cases as well as their interactive map which offers a global view of the pandemic.  Data visualization is helping to tell the coronavirus story and reveal big data insights.

On December 21, 2019, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system operated by a Toronto-based startup called BlueDot detected the earliest anomalies relative to what was then considered a mysterious pneumonia strain in Wuhan.  Utilizing this AI system they accessed over one million articles in 65 languages to detect a similarity to the 2003 SARS outbreak.  Nine days later the World Health Organization (WHO) alerted the wider public about the emergence of this new danger.

A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by SAS, asked data scientists and professionals in the public, private and non-government sectors about the value of data analytics to support economic and social development. 73% of scientists believe data analytics will help prevent future pandemics. reports on the predictive analytics helping tackle the coronavirus today:

  • Identifying coronavirus patterns in health reports that Sheba Medical Center in Israel is using data-driven forecasting to optimize allocation of personnel and resources in ADVANCE of potential local outbreaks. Machine Learning algorithms are offering predictive insights based on all accessible data like confirmed cases, deaths, test results, contact tracing, population density, demographics, migration flow, availability of medical resources and pharma stockpiles.
  •  Analyzing data obtained from geographic information systems (GIS). GPS data has provided insight on a county-by-county basis into the degree which mobility and travel have been impacted by the recommendations to stay home. “We have over 4 billion people boarding lights every year and that number has grown almost 50% in the last 15 years,” says Dr. Kumran Khan, an infectious disease physician and BlueDot’s founder.  “This huge increase is why we’re seeing outbreaks that used to sit in some remote village in Africa or Asia, are now, because everywhere is interconnected, dispersing rapidly.”  There is growing optimism that mobile-phone tracking and data mining of search engines and social media can help deliver a faster, more refined picture of where diseases are unfolding and might head to next.
  • Personalized diagnosis and treatments. Through automation, AI can help cope with rising diagnostics workloads but also free up valuable resources to focus on treating patients. There is a belief that AI in conjunction with medical researchers can help reduce drug development timelines to mere months or weeks.  As says, “With the world still in urgent need of a Covid-19 vaccine months after the first reported death, this human-machine synergy in the pharmaceutical space is the need of the hour.”

If 73% of scientists believe data analytics will help prevent future pandemics, isn’t data analytics a field you should pursue?  Reach out to Smith Hanley Associates‘ Pharmaceutical Analytics Recruiter, Eda Zullo at [email protected].




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