The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) received extensive, machine readable coronavirus data and is now asking artificial intelligence (AI) experts to accelerate answers to high-priority COVID-19 questions from the science community.

“Decisive action from America’s science and technology enterprise is critical to prevent, detect, treat, and develop solutions to COVID-19. The White House will continue to be a strong partner in this all hands-on-deck approach,” U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios, said in a March 16 briefing.

Coordinated by Georgetown University, Microsoft, NLM, CZI, and the Allen Institute for AI created the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) to bring together scholarly literature on COVID-19 and transform it into a machine-readable form ready for analysis. The CORD-19 data is available through Kaggle and openly available to researchers around the world.

Key coronavirus research questions that the White House is hoping to answer include:

  • What do we know about virus genetics, origin, and evolution?
  • What is known about transmission, incubation, and environmental stability?
  • What do we know about COVID-19 risk factors?
  • What do we know about vaccines and therapeutics?
  • What do we know about non-pharmaceutical interventions?

One of the most immediate and impactful applications of AI is in the ability to help scientists, academics, and technologists find the right information in a sea of scientific papers to move research faster. We applaud the OSTP, WHO [World Health Organization], NIH [National Institutes of Health] and all organizations that are taking a proactive approach to use the most advanced technology in the fight against COVID-19,” Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, said about the project.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.