The 10-million-dollar Epidemic Preparedness project: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invest

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KT and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have entered into an agreement to fund KT’s pandemic response solutions based on AI and Big Data to prepare for pandemics such as COVID-19.

South Korea’s largest telecommunications company, KT Corp, announced a three-year research study today funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for ICT-based global epidemic response using artificial intelligence and Big Data analysis.

The 10-million-dollar project stems from the recognition of South Korea’s advanced information and communication technology (ICT) as well as its proven ability to cope with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

With this contribution from the Gates Foundation, KT hopes to enhance our opportunity to lead the global effort toward outbreak prevention and response by taking advantage of AI and Big Data

Jeon Hongbeom
Head of AI/DX Business Unit at KT

With Gates Foundation grant funding, KT will develop Big Data algorithms to improve early-diagnosis based on AI during an epidemic and prediction of viral infections spread using mobile data. Research expenses will be divided equally between the two organisations.

Study of AI/Bigdata-based Epidemic Preparedness by KT and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation infographic

The collaboration between KT and the Gates Foundation on improving global health has its origins at the data innovation working group by the World Economic Forum in 2018. Since then, the organisations have discussed collaboration on innovative epidemic response using ICT.

In April 2019, KT introduced its Global Epidemic Prevention Platform or “GEPP”, which is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases using mobile data, at the ICT forum hosted by Research Investment for Global Health Technology Fund or “RIGHT Fund”, South Korea’s first funding agency dedicated to the Global Health R&D through the partnership between the Korean Government, Life Science companies, and the Gates Foundation, and the RIGHT Fund facilitated the discussions between the parties resulted in this three year partnership.

The project calls for KT to first develop a mobile app to automatically input symptoms typically associated with viral infections. An Internet of Things (IoT) body temperature sensor will be among the tools. Symptoms and body temperature will be analysed with AI to create an algorithm that will calculate the probability of infection.

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