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B.C. biotech employs IBM cloud technology to predict pandemics

B.C. biotech employs IBM cloud technology to predict pandemics 

Fusion Genomics announced on Thursday that it is using IBM’s cloud computing capabilities to help it detect and track pandemics before they even occur. Fusion Genomics has developed a technology to sequence deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) so that scientists can identify the outbreak of certain diseases and track their movement.

Fusion Genomics’ ONETest system used in combination with the company’s FUSIONCloud data analysis platform, is designed to accurately, rapidly and economically identify the genetic signatures of all known pathogens. ONETest is currently being tested at various key opinion leaders in Canada and the European Union.

The technology involves taking aerosol samples in high-risk areas, then analyze the sample to determine if there is potential to affect humans. If there is a risk, Fusion Genomics can help groups like governments and hospitals make rapid and informed decisions for the health and safety of those that rely on them before an outbreak occurs.

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By incorporating a cloud platform tuned for machine learning workloads, Fusion Genomics said it can obtain a secure infrastructure capable of hosting sensitive genomic data. The company chose IBM Cloud to help it create this cloud platform. According to Fusion Genomics, the IBM Cloud infrastructure provides it with a more coordinated and efficient delivery system that can scale up or down as need and analyze genomic data in minutes.

“With a quickly growing global population, potential outbreaks of infectious diseases pose an increasingly pressing threat to our public health”, said Mohammad Qadir, CEO of 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.”

The IBM Cloud enables Fusion Genomics’ system to gather and process four core elements in unison:

Beginning with testing, the sample genome is captured and DNA sequenced.

Fusion Genomics’ machine learning algorithms then analyze the genomic data to identify the presence of a pathogen, including any forms that could cause public harm.  

Once identified, physicians using Fusion Genomics’ technology can provide appropriate therapeutics; thus, 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.

Organizations around the world are working with Fusion Genomics to access their DNA and RNA technology system built on IBM Cloud, including government agencies in both Canada and the European Union, according to said Allen Lalonde, IBM Canada’s senior innovation executive with the IBM Canada Research & Development Centre.

IBM Cloud offers a growing catalogue of services including AI, Internet of Things, analytics, blockchain, serverless and more.

With nearly 60 cloud data centres in 19 countries worldwide, IBM is helping companies manage and gain insight from their data when and where they need.

“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,” said Lalonde.

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