Xprize launches Pandemic Alliance to accelerate coronavirus research

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 a 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.

“Technology can play a role in helping us to address the world’s largest challenges,” said chief innovation officer and VIP of Intel’s IoT Group Stacey Shulman. “Intel is partnering with Xprize to enable the larger community to find creative and impactful solutions for this global pandemic.”

Launch partner Anthem will provide vetted partners with 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:

Today

  • 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

Short-term

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  • 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 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 advise 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 reveal 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 in which technology can play a role, including health, vulnerable populations, education, entertainment, businesses, and community.

Xprize was founded in 1994 and has designed and launched 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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