Helping COVID-19 Long-Haulers with the Power of AI

Over the last year, the world fast-tracked digital transformation to understand the COVID-19 virus and create vaccines to protect human health. At Dell Technologies, we focused our efforts on providing funding, technology and expertise to help scientists and research institutions make a significant impact in the fight against the global pandemic.

We’re turning our focus to the next public health crisis: understanding and developing treatments for long-haul COVID-19. Patients with Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), or “long-haulers,” can experience illness for weeks or months after first being infected with the virus. An estimated 1 in 20 people with COVID-19 are likely to suffer from long-term symptoms including profound fatigue, brain fog, headaches, cardiac arrhythmia, fevers and shortness of breath.

While the idea of finding solutions for long-haul COVID-19 may be daunting, so was COVID-19 itself. And we now know that we can solve this and many other challenges with the incredible power of research accelerated by technology.

One of the organizations we work with, the i2b2 tranSMART Foundation, is bringing the global research community together in the fight against COVID-19, and we are proud to continue to support them as they embark on ground-breaking work to understand and drive precision treatments for those experiencing long-haul COVID-19. Using Dell Technologies’ modern infrastructure and expertise, the organization is creating digital twins – virtual models of COVID-19 patients – on which researchers will perform millions of individualized treatment simulations to identify the best possible therapy option for specific patients, based on genetic background and medical history.

As you can imagine, research at this scale requires mobilizing a massive amount of de-identified patient data, which means significant computational, storage, AI and machine-learning capabilities are needed to allow scientists to uncover actionable insights.

We were up for the challenge, and worked with i2b2 tranSMART to create a “data enclave” comprised of Dell EMC PowerEdge, PowerStore and PowerScale storage systems, as well as VMware Workspace ONE and Boomi integration services. This data enclave will give researchers the ability to gather, store and analyze data scattered across various monitoring systems and electronic health records and conduct treatment simulations  – with the insights shared with the broader clinical research community to accelerate the development of individualized treatments.

Supporting the global community is core to our purpose, and this collaboration with i2b2 tranSMART brings us one step closer to our goal of using our technology and scale to advance health, education, and economic opportunity for 1 billion people by 2030. The power of technology is astonishing, we see it in action every day. And when we use the same powerful, innovative technology to scale positive societal impact, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish together.

Here are a few other ways Dell Technologies has partnered to fight against the global pandemic:

  • The i2b2 TranSMART Foundation has made it possible for more than 300,000 COVID-19 research authors to collaborate on 80,000 searchable COVID-19 research articles
  • Translational Genomics Research Institute has accomplished the sequencing of 10,000+ SARS-CoV-2 genomes using our Zenith supercomputer in our Parmer campus
  • The Texas Advanced Computing Center has expanded the world’s ninth-fastest supercomputer to accelerate life sciences research during the pandemic
  • The China CDC was able to track more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases and close contact situations in Hubei, China
Jeremy Ford

About the Author: Jeremy Ford

Jeremy Ford is the Vice President of Global Giving and Social Innovation on Dell Technologies’ Corporate Affairs team. His team guides Dell Technologies’ commitment to drive human progress by putting its technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. Jeremy brings a deep knowledge of technology to this role and is passionate about applying technology, expertise, funding and volunteerism toward helping communities overcome challenges and thrive. Previously, Jeremy was the General Manager and Executive Director responsible for growing and enabling Dell’s global Cloud Services business. Prior to joining Dell in September 2000, he worked at Compaq Computer Corporation.  He holds a BS in electrical engineering from Purdue University as well as six US patents. In Jeremy’s free time, he enjoys coaching youth volleyball, because it gives him the opportunity to work with young people as they are developing their self-confidence and life skills.