Posted in | News | Medical Robotics

Funding Received for AI Network to Fight Infectious Diseases

An international team led by York University recently won a CAD7.25 million grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for the creation of an AI network to address the problem of emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases (ERIDs).

Funding Received for AI Network to Fight Infectious Diseases

Jude Kong. Image Credit: York University.

Thanks to this award, the research team will collaborate with nations in the Global South to create fair and ethical artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and big data strategies to enhance public health outcomes.

The Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network, a five-year project, was inspired by the potential of AI solutions to enhance the health system’s response to epidemics of infectious diseases throughout the Global South.

The commensurate must investigate the significant legal, ethical, and social implications of these solutions on the populations most vulnerable to disease and compromised well-being.

This project, led by Assistant Professor Jude Kong of York University's Faculty of Science, will assist in preventative measures, contingency planning, early diagnosis, mitigation, and the control of arising or re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) within Africa, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

York University is honored to have this opportunity to create positive change by fostering more equitable and responsible approaches to complex health-care needs through the ethical use of artificial intelligence,” says York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton.

This project will help us strengthen our impact on several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and well-being, as well as gender equality and partnerships. I’d like to thank IDRC for their ongoing support of York’s commitment to collaboratively addressing pressing global issues and congratulate Jude Kong on all his work in this area.

Rhonda Lenton, President, York University

Globally, infectious diseases are predicted to become more severe and frequent as humans continue intruding on animal habitats and as climate change worsens. These outbreaks frequently result from viruses, bacteria, and parasites that spread from animals to people.

These epidemics may have disastrous repercussions that cut across socioeconomic lines, amplifying social injustices, significantly harming disadvantaged people, and placing stress on underdeveloped healthcare systems, all of which serve to worsen underlying injustices and inequalities.

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside outbreaks such as Ebola and hMPXV, previously known as monkeypox, IDRC’s commitment to supporting innovative and locally championed solutions from LMICs is renewed and further deepened,” says IDRC President Jean Lebel.

We are delighted to build on IDRC’s deep experience in using AI to solve pressing social and economic challenges by supporting the team at York University in funding thought leaders in the LMICs to develop, use and scale responsible AI solutions to strengthen health systems. This collaborative effort will foreground AI applications that are ethical, respect privacy, and support gender equality and inclusive benefits across low-resource settings.”

The project will create a diversified, multi-regional, and interdisciplinary network of collaborators and teams to tackle capacity, knowledge, and solution gaps to truly comprehend how AI could be employed to enhance public health readiness and response.

In addition to identifying potential hazards, undertaking predictive modeling, and giving evidence-based suggestions for public health policy and action, it will also encourage southern-led equitable and ethical use of AI and big data.

It is important to design, manage and govern AI and big data approaches using a health-equity and gender-equality lens to avoid amplifying existing inequalities leading to the possibility of significant harm rather than tremendous benefits,” says Kong, the project’s executive director and director of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC).

The objective is to ensure that susceptible and at-risk populations, such as geographically isolated people, racialized visible minorities, women, migrants, Indigenous communities, and refugees, as well as those who are homeless and socioeconomically underprivileged, are addressed in disease outbreak policies and procedures. The need for fast, precise, and reliable data to support decision-making in public health has been highlighted by COVID-19.

AI techniques have developed rapidly over the last decade and the ability to store large data sets has led to novel methods of analysis, allowing for modelling predictions on a scale that was previously not possible,” says Kong.

ERIDs present global challenges, and as such, international communication and shared strategies, which build on varying types of expertise, are required to successfully address them. This project is a small step in that direction.”

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.