AIOLOS, the French-German project of artificial intelligence for the early detection and response to respiratory virus epidemics

French and German governments have launched the project AIOLOS in May 2022, after a call for projects aiming at boosting cooperation on artificial intelligence in different sectors, including healthcare.

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Covid-19 revealed the many weaknesses of many countries in terms of readiness and capacity to anticipate, control and respond to epidemics. Facing this reality, and in line with the 2019 Treaty of Aachen encouraging France and Germany to cooperate in artificial intelligence, both countries have agreed last May on the launch of AIOLOS. The project – which stands for “Artificial Intelligence Tools for Outbreak Detection and Response” –  is the winner of the call for projects launched in 2021 to “boost the supply of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for risk prevention, crisis management and resilience in three application areas”, being climate change, supply chain interruptions and health crises. Answering to this last application, AIOLOS aims at facilitating surveillance, anticipation and early detection, monitoring and response to respiratory epidemics.

 

After Covid-19, France and Germany join their expertise in healthcare with the AIOLOS project

Behind AIOLOS relies real-time multi-source data collection techniques, but also artificial intelligence and predictive modeling technologies. “The ambition is to propose a common analysis grid of plausible epidemic scenarios, an essential prerequisite for building a resilient model” says Dr. Cédric Mahé, Associate Vice President and Global Head of Modeling, Epidemiology and Data Science at Sanofi’s Vaccines entity in Lyon. The healthcare institution, expert in epidemiology, vaccines, and immunological products, takes part in the consortium of 6 institutions leading the project, along with:

  • Fraunhofer Institute, German expert working in medical and computer sciences
  • CompuGroup Medical, German expert in e-healthcare information systems.
  • Umlaut, German expert in technology capacity building and part of Accenture.
  • Quinten Health, French expert in AI and precision medicine.
  • Impact Healthcare, French expert in innovation and digital health.

Respiratory pathogens do not stop at national borders. The French and German partners are joining forces and combining their skills and capabilities to better prepare for future epidemics,” Dr. Aimo Kannt of the Fraunhofer Institute for Translational Medicine and Pharmacology (ITMP) points out.

 

Many actors implied to better face future health crises

Backed by both German and French governments through DLR Projektträger and France 2030 (operated by Bpifrance), public and private players will contribute as associated partners by providing data and scientific expertise. “The project will not be conducted in isolation but will rely on the many efforts underway around the world to strengthen preparedness measures for future pandemics”, Dr. Cédric Mahé explained. A first prototype of the platform should be finalized within two years. The objective is to target France and Germany at first, then to extend the program to Europe, and finally to the international level. AIOLOS could support the mission led by the European Health Emergency Response and Preparedness Authority – HERA – and will also seek to collaborate with the Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence launched by the World Health Organization. “This platform is expected to have a strong positive impact for public health but also in various sectors of the economy”, concludes Dr. Mahé.