KT Corp. announced on Sunday that it would conduct three-year research with support by the U.S.-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for epidemic preparedness solutions. South Korea’s leading telecommunications said that ICT-based study would use artificial intelligence (AI) technology and big data.
Through the research named “A Next-Generation Surveillance Study for Epidemic Preparedness,” KT would lead a consortium that aims to develop and improve early detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus.
The consortium would comprise of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Kim Woo-joo, infectious disease expert from Korea University College of Medicine, MediBloc, a blockchain medical data processor, and the team responsible for the smartphone application Mobile Doctor.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged 12 billion won ($9.7 million) in investment to the research, accounting for about 50 percent of the research cost.
According to KT, the consortium would carry out the three-year collaboration in South Korea, as the country possess 5G infrastructure with a high smartphone penetration rate.
Dedication to Global Health
In April last year, KT presented its Global Epidemic Prevention Platform (GEPP) to an ICT forum lead by Research Investment for Global Health Technology Fund (RIGHT Fund). Through the cooperation between the Gates Foundation, the Korean Government, and Life Science companies, the South Korean funding agency dedicates itself to the Global Health R&D.
Jeon Hongbeom said that with the Gates Foundation’s funding and the advantage of big data and AI, KT could become the leading company in the global effort to prevent and respond to outbreaks. KT’s Head of AI/DX Business Unit added that the telecom firm also expects to contribute further to the nation’s capabilities for epidemic preparedness and response.
Under the project, KT would first develop a mobile application to automatically tract symptoms linked with viral infections. With the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI, KT would analyze data and create an algorithm that would calculate the chance of infection.
Deputy Director of digital health innovation at the Gates Foundation, Andrew Trister, said that using mobile technology coupled with intelligent data analysis could help countries address some of the challenges they face amid pandemics.