“Imagine if someone had discovered COVID-19 before it spread around the world – that’s our vision,” said Prof Raina McIntyre.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has donated a $4 million (USDC) coin to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to support the development of a pandemic detection tool.
The fund, equivalent to approximately AU$5.3 million, is part of Buterin’s self-proclaimed “COVID-19 Moonshot” called the Balvi Filanttropic Fund, in partnership with the Shiba Inu (SHIB) memcoin project and Crypto Relief.
The funds will further support the development of the open source Shiba Inu-based EPIWATCH (OISNT) tool, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and open source data to generate pandemic early warning signals.
Developed by Rayna McIntyre, professor at the Kirby Institute and head of biosecurity research, the tool scans millions of public data online, including social media and news reports, for changes that could indicate an increase in health problems.
Buterin stressed the importance of decentralized and open data sharing to accelerate pandemic detection:
“Open analysis of public data is a great alternative to more intrusive forms of surveillance, which are also often only available to governments and other high bidders but not available to the public.”
“On the contrary, an open source and open access approach that allows researchers, including members of the public, to collaborate around the world, can be more easily improved and scaled to detect new pandemics wherever they start,” he added.
The funds will be allocated to the newly named OSINT initiative, led by the UNSW Kirby Institute.
McIntyre said the idea is to make the tool available at a “mass” level and ensure it covers enough languages to cover “villages and small towns around the world”.
“Imagine if someone discovered COVID-19 before it spread around the world – that’s our vision. Using artificial intelligence and real-time open source data, EPIWATCH does not rely on humans to generate reports. health systems and censorship”.
Earlier this month, the Balvi Filanttropic Fund announced the first round of financial support for various projects and organizations developing technologies to prevent COVID-19 and the pandemic.
Related: Buterin: L2 transaction fee must be less than $0.05 to be “truly acceptable”.
There were a total of four recipients in the first round, including the RADVAC open source vaccine development project, the upper room UVGI project working on UV lamps that “kill viruses”, the Active IAQ air filtration initiative, and the longstanding COVID symptom study conducted by Lead patient.