IBM steps up efforts in fight against Zika
(Reuters) – International Business Machines said on Wednesday it would provide its technology and resources to help track the spread of the Zika virus. Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), a leading research institution affiliated with the Brazilian Ministry of Health, plans to use IBM’s technology to analyze information from official data about human travel patterns to anecdotal observations recorded on social media.
Global health officials are racing to better understand the Zika virus, which has caused a major outbreak that began in Brazil last year and has spread to many countries in the Americas. IBM also said it plans to donate a one-year subscription feed of highly local, daily rainfall, average temperature and relative humidity data to the U.S. Fund for United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Rainfall, temperature and humidity play key roles in the development of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries Zika as well as dengue, chikungunya and Yellow Fever. IBM is also collaborating with the New York-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies to collect and mine biological and ecological data to help devise algorithms that can determine which primates are carriers for the virus.