Vitalik donates $4M to Uni of NSW for pandemic detection tool

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, donated $4 million in USD Coin (USDC), to the University of New South Wales (UNSW), to help develop a pandemic detection tool.

This capital is equivalent to approximately $5.3 million Aussie dollars. It is part of Buterin’s self-described “moonshot anti–COVID effort” dubbed Balvi Filantropic Fund, in partnership with the Shiba Inu mecoin project (SHIB), and Crypto Relief.

These funds will be used to further develop the OISNT-based EPIWATCH instrument, which uses artificial intelligence (AI), open-source data and open-source data in order to create early warning signs of a pandemic.

Raina MacIntyre, a Kirby Institute professor and Biosecurity Research chief, created the tool to scan millions of publicly available online data. This includes news reports and social media. The tool can detect changes that might indicate increasing health risks.

Buterin stressed the importance of sharing data in an open and decentralized manner in order to accelerate pandemic detection.

“Open analysis of public information is a great alternative to intrusive forms monitoring that are often only available to governments but not to the public.”

He said, “By contrast an open-source, open-access approach which allows researchers, including members the public to work together across the globe can be more easily improved upon and scaled up to detect new pandemics wherever these occur.”

Funding will be provided to the newly named Shiba Inu Open-Source Intelligence Initiative (OSINT), which is led by UNSW’s Kirby Institute.

#Ethereum co-founder @VitalikButerin has gifted UNSW $5.3 million in #cryptocurrency to support the development of a #pandemic detection tool designed by @KirbyInstitute’s Prof Raina MacIntyre.https://t.co/aYYhI1iQwR pic.twitter.com/Gy0l1xejel
— Kirby Institute, UNSW May 12, 2022 (@KirbyInstitute).

Professor MacIntyre stated that the goal was to make the tool available at the “grassroots” level, and to ensure it covers enough languages for “villages and small villages around the globe.”

Imagine if COVID-19 had been detected before it spreads around the globe. That is our vision. EPIWATCH relies on reports from people to use AI and open-source data real-time. It can be a powerful equalizer, and overcome weak health systems or censorship.

Balvi Balvi Filantropic Fund, which announced its first round in financial support earlier this month for projects and organizations involved in pandemic and COVID prevention technology.

Related: Buterin. L2 transaction fees must be below $0.05 in order to be considered ‘truly acceptable.

For the first round there were four recipients, including the open-source vaccination development RADVACproject and the Upper Room UVGI Project, which work on UV lamps that “zap virus to death”, Active IAQ’s air filter initiative, and Patient-Led’s long COVID symptom research.

Bio-defense’s future is open, decentralized, collaborative and doesn’t involve infringing upon millions of peoples’ freedom and livelihood. It does require dedicated, smart people to support their hard work in making these tech solutions a reality.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) May 5, 2022

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