To predict an outbreak before it even affects its first victim. It sounds impossible.
But researchers at Microsoft have found a way. And it begins with the likeliest of sources: the disease-ridden mosquito.
Researchers have been studying mosquito traps since the 1950s. But until recently, capturing and processing mosquitos to screen for disease has been an arduous task.
Leveraging drones, molecular biology, and cloud-based data analytics, they’re now learning how to extract this intelligence from the obnoxious and vile insect!
It’s called “Project Premonition,” and sounds like something straight out of Star Wars!
First, the Microsoft drones catch them in remote areas such as Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa. They store the captured bugs in specialized chemicals for preservation, then deliver them to the labs.
Then the researchers use the latest techniques in molecular biology and genetic sequencing to extract the viruses from these insects. Some of these viruses were previously undiscovered!
The viruses are then loaded into massive cloud computing analytic databases that crunch billions of numbers to assess the threat and potential for outbreak. This helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan immunizations and contain potential outbreaks.
Stuff like this wasn’t possible years ago, mostly due to cost constraints.
But think about just how big this is…
Until now, diseases like this could only be detected after they’ve ravaged communities and civilizations. Even after detection, it takes months to develop an effective containment plan and potential treatments.
This project is still in its infancy, but the potential to save life is enormous.
This new method for identifying harmful diseases will add to the arsenal of diagnosing and treating deadly diseases. It’s just one part of the precision medicine movement already revolutionizing the medical field.
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