Health technology company Vibrent Health has been awarded a contract worth a potential value of $4.23 million from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), to develop a large-scale, data-driven approach to fight COVID-19. Vibrent Health will expand and enhance its privacy-protected, cybersecure Digital Health Solutions Platform for Wi-Fi-enabled contact tracing designed to identify outbreaks and advise actions to protect individuals from COVID-19 exposure and to assist society with the return to normalcy.
“The current public health crisis is compounded by a lack of scientifically validated technology tools for effective response strategies,” said Praduman Jain, Founder and CEO, Vibrent Health. “We are proud to be selected by NIH to develop and validate evidence-based contact tracing technology solutions that leverage user-friendly mobile tools and multiple data sources that we believe will have a significant impact on the fight against COVID-19.”
The security, stability and depth of Vibrent Health’s technology platform enhances contact tracing efforts by collecting data from broad data sources through existing Wi-Fi infrastructures that are pre-installed on most smart devices. The solution utilizes mobile applications, self-reported data, wearable devices and machine learning algorithms.
A critical feature of Vibrent’s solution will be its ability to differentiate COVID-19 from the Flu, indicating to users if they need to seek medical attention or not, which may alleviate the burden on health care facilities during Flu outbreaks.
Vibrent Health’s solution will enable researchers, public health officials and the general public to make appropriate decisions to protect against exposure to COVID-19 and to enable individuals, communities, universities, facilities and event venues to reduce the risk of infection and thus help society to return to work and normal activities. This is especially important for essential workers who are at highest risk of exposure and those with diminished access to healthcare resources.
“Digital health technologies built around smartphones and wearable devices will play an essential role in guiding us through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NIBIB Director Bruce J. Tromberg, Ph.D. “These platforms can acquire large amounts of data from many different sources spanning from testing technologies to sensors. When this information is analyzed using cutting-edge computational and machine learning methods, everyone will have access to powerful new tools for reducing the risk of infection and returning to normal activities.”
In May of this year, NCI and NIBIB invited organizations to submit ideas for digital health technologies that could enhance the public health response to the pandemic. Vibrent Health was selected as one of seven projects from nearly 200 different ideas. This is among the first NIH-awarded contracts to help create a next-generation contact tracing technology solution for public health response that combines the best of science and technology.
With this new contract, Vibrent Health has partnered with several academic organizations that will contribute machine learning for contact tracing, scientific validation and recruitment of medically underserved populations. Partners include Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, and University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.
This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds under Contract No. 75N91020C00038, as a component of the Congressionally supported response to COVID-19 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. This contract builds on Vibrent Health and the NIH’s existing deep collaboration, including the recently announced funding award to continue as the Participant Technology Systems Center (PTSC) of the All of Us Research Program. All of Us is one of history’s largest longitudinal research programs, with an aim of partnering with one million or more diverse people living in the United States.