How AI could predict disease outbreaks

Mankind has lived through waves of pandemics. Now we may be at the stage where we can predict them before they happen.

When he was a boy, Rainier Mallol nearly lost his mother to a disease called dengue.

The young scientist, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, wanted to do something about the disease, which infects some 390 million people every year. So he set up Aime, which has one clear aim – to predict disease outbreaks before they happen.

By feeding the algorithm statistics of dengue infections, Mallol asked the programme to predict three months ahead. There turned out to be an 81% match between Aime’s predictions and reality.

Now the algorithm could be used on other diseases too, such as Zika.

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