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Fusion Genomics and IBM's Cloud Supporting Advances in Global Pandemics

By Chrissie Cluney
December 13, 2017

Advancements in technology and medicine are occurring every day to benefit the lives of people in the US and around the world.

IBM and Fusion Genomics, a developer of molecular diagnostics, have begun a partnership. The partnership will assist with the capabilities to help advance Fusion’s ability to detect pandemics before they happen through IBM’s cloud.

Fusion Genomics has developed disruptive DNA and RNA technology so that it can positively identify infectious diseases and enhance the surveillance of emerging pathogens like MERS, SARS, avian flu, and swine flu.

Fusion Genomics’ technology when it is employed for pre-emergence surveillance can assist proactively to identify threats such as the swine flu. This is accomplished by taking aerosol samples in high-risk areas. Then the scientists analyze the sample to determine if there is potential to affect humans. If there is a risk, Fusion Genomics can assist groups like governments and hospitals to make rapid and informed decisions for the health and safety of those that rely on them before an outbreak occurs.

"With a quickly growing global population, potential outbreaks of infectious diseases pose an increasingly pressing threat to our public health," said Mohammad Qadir, CEO, Fusion Genomics. “We chose IBM over other cloud providers because of its ability to quickly scale up or down while ensuring that sensitive data is protected with one of the most secure clouds available. This accelerates our capacity to react to infectious diseases that can pose dangerous threats to both the economy and human life.”

The IBM Cloud enables Fusion Genomics’ system to gather and process four core elements. Fusion Genomics begins with testing the sample genome that is captured and DNA sequenced. The company’s machine learning algorithms then analyze the genomic data to identify the presence of a pathogen, which includes any forms that could cause public harm. Once identified, physicians using Fusion Genomics’ technology can provide appropriate therapeutics. Treatment can be determined while tracking the transmission dynamics of the pathogen. Since the system is delivered via the IBM Cloud, Fusion Genomics can easily run analytics and share information across boundaries.

“Together with Fusion Genomics, IBM continues its commitment to drive innovation in Canada that is making a real difference in key industries,” said Allen Lalonde, Canada’s senior innovation executive, IBM Canada Research and Development Centre. “IBM Cloud is designed to help meet the evolving needs of all scopes of businesses and technology challenges and can deliver a security minded end-to-end system that provides an environment, data governance, auditability, and interfaces for health data standards and systems.”

IBM and Fusion Genomics are working side-by-side to conquer global pandemics, which might cease life-threatening diseases before the disease has the opportunity to reach the public. 

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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