Metabiota on Quartz: Coronavirus is a Proving Ground for Scientific Transparency

In past epidemics, some public health researchers have been guilty of hoarding top-shelf data sets for meticulous study—and hopefully a splashy journal article - until long after the public health crisis has passed. But global health scientists who are working to track the coronavirus say that the outbreak has sparked an unprecedented level of openness and collaboration between normally competitive research outfits. The result, they say, is that actionable computer models to predict where the disease might spread next - and the genetic data needed to develop treatments—are coming online faster and at a higher quality than in any previous epidemic. At least one private AI-based outbreak monitoring company is also joining the fray: Metabiota, a San Francisco-based service for government agencies and insurance companies, plans to make the province-level data behind its nCoV19 tracking map freely available early next week, CEO Nita Madhav told Quartz. View Article on Quartz: Coronavirus is a Proving Ground for Scientific Transparency

Metabiota in The Guardian: Live Animals Are The Largest Source of Infection - Dangers of the Export Trade

The growth of the live animal export trade will make the spread of diseases more likely, experts have warned. David McIver, a senior scientist and epidemiologist at biotech company Metabiota, said the rise in live animal exports was a growing issue for many other diseases, such as avian influenza virus, mad cow disease and Nipah virus, while he warned that ASF could one day feasibly threaten humans in some form. View Article on Quartz: Live Animals Are the Largest Source of Infection - Dangers of the Export Trade

New Government Services Brochure Provides Overview of Metabiota Expertise

Metabiota has launched a new brochure that provides an overview of its biosurveillance, workforce development, biorisk management and epidemic risk analytic offerings to the government services and govtech sectors. To see the new brochure, click here.     

Metabiota Appoints Distinguished Data Scientist and Disease Modeler as CEO

Today, Metabiota, the global pioneer in infectious disease risk solutions, announced the appointment of Nita Madhav as the company's next Chief Executive Officer, and its first female officer. Nita has most recently served as Metabiota’s Vice President of Data Science, where she led the data science department for the past 3.5 years. “This is a pivotal time for the company, and it comes on the heels of substantial strides, including the establishment of key partnerships with Munich Re, In-Q-Tel, Inc. (IQT), Marsh, and the African Risk Capacity,” said Madhav. “Metabiota will continue to focus on developing and deploying our novel solutions that improve the world’s resilience to epidemic risk, and I am honored to step into this role and to help usher in the next phase of company growth.” Prior to Metabiota, Madhav worked as a Principal Scientist at AIR Worldwide, where she led the life and health research and modeling team. Prior to that, she performed hantavirus research at the Special Pathogens Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To read more, click here.

Ebola and the ongoing global health emergency that no one is noticing

On Wednesday the World Health Organization declared the ongoing — and now year-old — Ebola outbreak a global health emergency. The emergency declaration comes after a man became sick and brought the virus to the Congolese city of Goma, a highly populated transit hub with an international airport and next door to Rwanda. As it stands today, the current Ebola outbreak has surpassed 2,500 cases and 1,500 deaths concentrated largely in two provinces in eastern Congo. The response effort has been hampered by a deadly mix of armed conflict, distrust, and lack of medical resources. Less than half of the affected population trusts the government and Ebola responders; armed groups have even killed responders. Public health experts expect the outbreak to continue into the foreseeable future. Yet outside the public health community there has been relatively little concern in America about the second largest Ebola outbreak in history.  To read more, click here.

Outbreak News Today Reports on the Metabiota Epidemic Tracker with Ben Oppenheim, PhD

The World Economic Forum believes pandemics could cause a $570 billion annual loss to the global economy.  Recently, the Leader in Epidemic Risk Modeling, Metabiota, released a free tool for tracking events that could impact human and economic health. It’s called the Metabiota Epidemic Tracker, a free, new platform to view, analyze and understand events that could impact people, industries and nations. Joining me today to look at this is the Head of Product at Metabiota, Ben Oppenheim, PhD. To listen to the podcast interview, click here.

Why 2019 is the year of proof

With lots of enthusiasm, but many siloed pilots, few insurance carriers have a well-established and mature strategy for partnering with insurtech companies. Insurers and their employees are instead at the stage of building business cases for injecting technology and engaging with insurtech start-ups. But the return on equity equation to prove the benefits is not so simple. For the numerator of the return on investment (ROI) equation, it’s important to evaluate how to quantify customer satisfaction and retention, while also expanding risk appetite and investing in full-time equivalent employee reduction. In tandem, it is also important to quantify the risk of disrupting an insurance process that functions well but is not up to the standards that consumers have come to expect in other industries. So, how does a carrier prove to its management and its board that partnering with insurtech start-ups can provide operational efficiencies and “tech proof” their company for the future? This year may be the year where carriers have to build this ROI, especially if they have a limited budget for innovation and want to continue creating partnerships. To read more of this article, click here.

Corporate Risk and Insurance: Why 2019 is the year of better data analytics for risk management

In the second of three guest posts highlighting predictions for the insurance industry in 2019 , Kate Sampson, Metabiota advisory board member and insurtech advisor/expert and the first vice president of risk solutions at Lyft highlights why with the continued increase in the use of data and analytics across all of the insurance ecosystem, particularly as it relates to the underwriting process, companies in the year ahead will rely more heavily on more real-time data to make more informed decisions and more robust policies/solutions. As a result, she believes companies will evolve and tap into better and more timely insights to make more informed decisions. Which is why 2019 is the year of better data analytics…. The increase in the amount and access to new and richer data is sparking transformational change in the insurance industry. Between the sheer volume of data and rapid advances in data science, AI and machine learning, this information revolution is contributing to a significant growth in new insights and understanding about private and public sector vulnerabilities to perils. Particularly over the last decade, we have seen the industry take vast amounts of structured “historical” data and apply new algorithms and predictive models to improve underwriting results. However, we are still in the early stages of the industry using “real-time” and unstructured data in the underwriting, product development, claims and risk management processes. To read more of this article, click here.

Insights from the International Conference on (Re-)Emerging Infectious Diseases Conference

International Conference on (Re-)Emerging Infectious Diseases I had the privilege of attending the 2nd annual International Conference on (Re-) Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICREID) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month. This event was organized by Africa CDC and took place in the awe-inspiring headquarters of the African Union. The host, Africa CDC, was established in 2017 to coordinate public health agencies across the continent to prevent, prepare for, and respond to infectious diseases. ICREID brings together researchers and policymakers to exchange the latest research on emerging and reemerging infectious diseases that continue to plague the globe. There are many programs tackling these diseases in Africa, but they often work independently; coordinating efforts across the large, diverse land mass is a tremendous challenge. Conference attendees are on a mission to work together to prevent epidemic events, like the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as reduce the persistent burden of other diseases, like meningitis and malaria, that cause enormous human and economic damage locally as well as worldwide. The focus is to develop long-term regional improvements, such as investments in infrastructure to tackle the problem in a new and more efficient way. As background, Metabiota is a partner of the African Risk Capacity Outbreaks and Epidemics (ARC O&E), which will deliver an innovative epidemic risk management tool to participating African nations. Under the auspices of the African Union, this project gives decision-makers a view of pathogen-specific, subnational preparedness and response-capacity alongside reported epidemic data and modeled potential losses. This view of risk is provided in conjunction with sovereign parametric insurance for a new, predictable funding mechanism during outbreaks. The brilliant and diverse minds in the room meant there were a lot of fruitful and bold ideas, and  while there are numerous learnings from the event about how to better tackle epidemic risk, a few big ones stood out to me: Communication and transparency are critical during outbreaks. Despite advances in treatment and outbreak response, these events persist when communities lack trust in outbreak responders. Infectious disease risk varies within countries and across the world. Thorough risk assessment is critical for resource allocation and epidemic preparedness. Development of an integrated platform approach to infectious disease response is an efficient way to coordinate the distribution of human, material and financial resources. By bringing together advocates for change and experts in epidemiology, events like ICREID are powerful platforms to develop tangible methods for improving the world’s resilience to infectious diseases.

International Travel and Health Insurance Journal Reports on Metabiota's "New infectious disease tracker"

Metabiota, which provides risk analytics to assist organisations and companies in building resilience to epidemics and protecting global health, has launched a new tracker that can monitor infectious disease threats on a global scale. The Metabiota Epidemic Tracker is a new platform where events that could impact people, industries and nations can be viewed, analysed and understood. It is optimised for a range of users, including corporate risk managers keen to protect their workforces, travellers and people interested in the global health landscape.  For more on this article, click here.