Xprize, the nonprofit organization aiming to spark projects that solve “societal grand challenges,” today unveiled the Pandemic Alliance, a coalition dedicated to accelerating solutions that can be applied to COVID-19. As part of the launch, the Alliance — which includes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Ending Pandemics, Intel, Illumina, IEEE Standards Association, MIT Solve, C2 International, Cloudbreak Health, the Foundation Botnar, McGill University, Nvidia, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, PPE Coalition, and UCSD — is calling for data scientists, clinicians, and others to share their work using the newly launched Xprize COVID-19 portal.
Launch partner Anthem will provide vetted partners access to one of the largest certified and de-identified outbreak data sets, including years of longitudinal data for prior viral outbreaks (e.g., swine flu, avian flu, influenza). The hope is that it will contribute to a larger body of resources, asks, and collaborations — the Xprize Data Collaborative, a data platform to help prepare for viral threats — along three horizons, with the following initiatives under consideration:
- Accelerate solutions for remote care
- Provision personal protective equipment to the front line
- Provide reliable access to testing
- Secure food and medicine for vulnerable populations
- Develop, evaluate, and deploy point of care and at-home tests
- Evaluate and deploy effective teleradiology services tied into predictive AI modeling
- Support food availability and supply chain needs
- Identify COVID-positive and COVID-negative (safe) zones to prepare for a possible second wave of the outbreak
Mid- to long-term
- Develop and deploy modular ICUs and remote monitoring tools with connected data outflow to care providers
- Connect people to each other by creating social communities around health and illness
- Identify ways to predict patients with genetic risk for various diseases and assess treatment protocols
- Expand the tele-diagnostic and telemedicine offering to include new and innovative remote monitoring solutions
A newly formed COVID-19 Response Task Force will aid in selecting the most urgent and promising solutions that might help prevent, contain, and stop the spread of COVID-19. Xprize says the group will have visibility into the exchanges on the Pandemic Alliance platform to identify potential breakthroughs, as well as to facilitate conversations and connections between innovators and resources and bring in additional stakeholders.
“There are few times in recent history when one pandemic has affected so many people, but with all of us focused on one problem, it means impact and solutions will only be accelerated, and we’re excited to work with Anthem to amplify the potential of this platform in quickly enabling global talent to join the fight,” said Xprize CEO Anousheh Ansari. “At XPRIZE, we believe radical breakthroughs can come from anyone, anywhere, and our response to COVID-19 will help provide solutions when humanity’s most vulnerable need it most.”
The Alliance’s announcement comes after Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, and others teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch a hackathon — the #BuildforCOVID19 Global Online Hackathon — aimed at developing software to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. The group said they’re working with the WHO to determine key challenges and areas where technology can play a role, including health, vulnerable populations, education, entertainment, businesses, and community.
Other COVID-19-related tech partnerships announced in recent weeks include the COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium, which intends to help vetted research projects access supercomputer compute capacity, and an effort led by the Allen Institute for AI, Microsoft, and others to collate a data set of 29,000 articles about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the coronavirus group. More recently, Amazon, Salesforce, the Mayo Clinic, and others launched a collaboration — the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition — to increase COVID-19 testing and vaccine development, with a focus on health care delivery systems and assisting people at risk of exposure who need testing.
Xprize was founded in 1994 and has designed and launched over 17 prizes in the domains of space, oceans, learning, health, energy, and the environment. To date, it has launched over $140 million in prize purses, including the $15 million Global Learning Xprize, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize, and the $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy Xprize.
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