Metabiota in Vox: Coronavirus is the First Big Test for Futuristic Tech that Can Prevent Pandemics

The novel coronavirus that first appeared in mainland China has now spread across the world, with more than 82,000 reported cases and nearly 3,000 deaths, as of Thursday. And right alongside the outbreak is the deployment of myriad types of AI-powered tech that is now being put on full display. Public health data surveillance companies Metabiota and BlueDot were both used to track the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus. View Article on Vox: Coronavirus is the First Big Test for Futuristic Tech that Can Prevent Pandemics

Metabiota in U.S. News: Can AI Flag Disease Outbreaks Faster Than Humans? Not Quite.

Early warnings of disease outbreaks can help people and governments save lives. In the final days of 2019, an AI system in Boston sent out the first global alert about a new viral outbreak in China. But it took human intelligence to recognize the significance of the outbreak and then awaken response from the public health community. But the algorithms can only be as effective as the data they are scouring, said Nita Madhav, CEO of San Francisco-based disease monitoring firm Metabiota, which first notified its clients about the outbreak in early January. Madhav said that inconsistency in how different agencies report medical data can stymie algorithms. The text-scanning programs extract keywords from online text, but may fumble when organizations variously report new virus cases, cumulative virus cases, or new cases in a given time interval. The potential for confusion means there's almost always still a person involved in reviewing the data. View Article on U.S. News: Can AI Flag Disease Outbreaks Faster Than Humans? Not Quite.

Metabiota on MarketPlace Public Radio: Big Data Predicted the Coronavirus Outbreak and Where It Would Spread

Employing artificial intelligence as an early warning system for global outbreaks isn’t just for government. Airlines, hotels and cruise lines stand to lose millions of dollars if people stop traveling, and many companies purchase data and analysis from AI firms to assess financial risk. The AI firm Metabiota assesses a disease — its symptoms, death rate and availability of vaccine — and then surveys people on how much that disease scares them. It found this coronavirus has a high “scariness” index. View Article on Big Data Predicted the Coronavirus Outbreak and Where It Would Spread

Metabiota on ABC News Radio: Big Tech Tackles the Coronavirus Outbreak

As the novel coronavirus continues to sweep across much of mainland China, tech companies are taking notice of the information -- and disinformation -- that the outbreak is generating online. Metabiota is a biotech company that tracks the spread of diseases by monitoring everything from media reports to flight data. CEO Nita Madhav says they use artificial intelligence as well as a team of analysts to draw conclusions about how people are reacting to the disease. View Article: Big Tech Tackles the Coronavirus Outbreak

Metabiota in the Financial Times: Insurers in the Spotlight over Coronavirus

Companies and individuals affected by the coronavirus are facing an agonising trawl through the small print to see whether their insurance policies cover costs. Industry experts said a wide variety of polices could pay out, but that epidemics and pandemics were often deliberately excluded from cover. California-based Metabiota tracks the impact of viruses on individual behaviour, such as people’s willingness to travel. Its modelling suggests the impact of the coronavirus outbreak could be similar to the Sars virus in 2003, when some hotels suffered a 40 per cent drop in revenues. According to Metabiota chief executive, Nita Madhav, Sars caused overall economic losses of more than $50bn. View Article on (subscription required): Insurers in the Spotlight over Coronavirus

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.