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Infectious Disease: The Beginning Of The End

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Forbes / Leadership
OCT 12, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Infectious Disease: The Beginning Of The End

You vomit. You sweat. You get a rash. Your body hurts all over. You may even die. Not fun.

Every year, 2.5 billion people are at risk of catching Dengue fever. And there is almost nothing you can do about it. I was told that there is no current vaccine for Dengue fever. I was surprised this was true, but according to a bunch of sites on the internet, it is true. Also not good. So if there is no current vaccine, what is the solution?

Prevention. But how?

AIME (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology) is a company out of Singularity University that developed an algorithm capable of predicting outbreaks of Dengue. I have written about Singularity University before, but basically it assembles the best and brightest minds from around the world to solve problems that affect one billion people. In fact, Singularity only works with people that focus on solutions that will help at least 1 billion people. I love Singularity University. I go any chance I get. AIME is a perfect example of the genius that comes from the program.

Meet the Founders of AIME ~


Chiung Ching Ho, Rainier Mallol, Dr. Dhesi Raja, Jamal Robinson and Choo-Yee Ting founded AIME. They come from the USA, Malaysia, China and the Dominican Republic. They created a company that can predict the outbreak of Dengue Fever with 87% accuracy. They created an algorithm that uses 11 different variables like weather data, construction data, dengue death data and other points to reach this level of accuracy. The algorithm then provides a circle that appears over a map. Imagine Google maps with a big circle over a specific part of the city that is currently experiencing an outbreak, or is likely to experience one in the near future. The circle is 400 meters in radius. Why 400 meters? Because when a dengue fever outbreak occurs, governments and public health officials must “clean” or create a 400 meter radius surrounding the infected area. Interestingly, according to the WHO’s flight range studies, most female mosquitoes that carry and transmit dengue fever don’t fly more than 400 meters. This means that people, rather than mosquitoes, rapidly move the virus within and between communities and places. AIME illustrates the likelihood, in percentages, of dengue outbreak in real time in a certain part of your city.

So now, for the first time, public officials, health departments, and cities can know when and where there is going to be an outbreak. For the first time, they can be proactive instead of reactive. They can decide how to allocate resources, how to inform the people, how to be targeted about next steps. It’s amazing.

AIME is partnering with Brazilian FIX (Field Innovation Exchange) this year just in time for the Olympics. Once they have tested the algorithm on dengue fever prevention, they plan on tackling other infectious diseases like Malaria, Ebola, HIV and more. They are creating a business model to commercialize research that will precisely predict disease outbreak. Think about this. First, it is expensive to care for all of the patients that get sick because of Dengue. Second, countries are spending time and resources on mass campaigns about dengue prevention without knowing where the disease is most likely to affect its populations. These are two problems that AIME can address. It saves governments and organizations time, money and resources. Not to mention the fact that it saves lives. That’s big thinking at its greatest.

I wanted to know more, so I asked Jamal about the greatest lesson he learned at Singularity. He had a quick answer. He told me that when you want to change the world, write down the biggest thought you have ever had. Then 10X that thought.

He then told me a story.

‘Every day, the participants at Singularity University look at a sign that says, ‘How Do You Solve a Problem that Affects a Billion People?’ The first time you see the sign, you think it is impossible. The next day, you think it is almost impossible. But day after day, you look again and again. And at some point, you start to believe that maybe it is possible. Maybe you are ready to play a little bigger than you have before. Maybe you are ready to be around the people that also want to 10x their thinking and help a million people. Then one day, things start to shift. You see things that did not exist before. You see a ‘B’ instead of an ‘M’ and you say to yourself. Today is the day. Today I will help a billion people. Today, for the first time, I believe it is possible.’

Even if I have to dedicate the rest of my life to this goal, I know one thing.

I can start today.

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