COVID-19 Tech Collaborations: Adaptive And Microsoft Map Immune System Responses
A two and half year-old partnership between Adaptive Biotechnologies and Microsoft that began with a focus on Lyme disease has transitioned to mapping immune responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. By identifying and matching T cell receptors to antigens associated with the virus – and leveraging the power of machine learning – the companies hope to improve COVID-19 vaccine development, locate potential antibodies for drug development and create better, more sensitive diagnostics.
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Though vastly underreported, new cases of Lyme in the US total more than 300,000 a year; its incidence now exceeds infections for far more visible conditions like HIV. A higher profile for Lyme is hobbled by a slow and distorted institutional response, especially among clinicians who disagree on whether Lyme is one disease or a complex constellation of many – much like cancer, but without the commitment.
Fresenius Kabi’s decision to add radio frequency-identification (RFID) tags to 24 products used in hospital operating rooms will help the company’s hospital pharmacy customers reduce waste, increase efficiencies and facilitate tighter medication inventory control, executives claim. However, only 10% of US hospitals are currently equipped to scan and process RFID tags, despite larger adoption rates in other industry sectors. COVID-19-related revenue losses may push more hospitals to adopt automated RFID medication management systems to save time and reduce labor costs.
An early childhood fascination with the natural world led Cesar de la Fuente into the fields of microbiology and immunology. A PhD from the University of British Columbia – and postdoc work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – helped him combine computer science principles with biological processes. As the leader of a machine biology group and lab at the University of Pennsylvania, de la Fuente is working to develop new antibiotics to treat deadly bacterial infections.