Ebola is a serious and frequently fatal disease for which there currently aren’t any licensed treatments or vaccines. The current outbreak of the virus is mainly affecting three countries in West Africa including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There have already been over nine thousand nine hundred and thirty six reported cases and more than four thousand eight hundred deaths caused by the virus, making it the largest known outbreak of Ebola to date.
Countries in West Africa are currently experiencing the biggest outbreak of Ebola to date.
Fighting Ebola with cloud computing
It has recently been reported that a number of organisations are helping to fight against Ebola by using cloud computing. One of these organisations is Microsoft. The company has recently announced it will be joining the fight against the Ebola outbreak by pledging free cloud computing and research applications to medical researchers working on eradicating the deadly virus.
Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Computing Service
Microsoft is making its Azure cloud computing service available to medical workers so that they can gain access to the necessary require for vaccine discovery. The software company also says that its own researchers have built a number of tools that medical researchers may find useful.
Azure is the name of the company’s cloud-computing platform, which is made up of a group of data centres that allow users to access large amounts of information and computer power from any location, using the internet.
Essentially, Microsoft will be handing out grants to provide successful applicants with Azure’s cloud computing processing power, so they have easier access to the healthcare and research services they require. In order to gain access to the system, applicants must be associated with an academic institution and must submit a proposal explaining how they intend to use the service.
Organisations like Microsoft and IBM are using cloud computing technology to assist health care workers in West Africa.
Streamlining the Ebola Research Process
With growing concerns about the deadly disease spreading, using cloud computing is a great idea, as it helps to streamline the research process and make it more affordable for those on tight budgets. Access to the company’s vast hub of data centres will also help researchers to analyse and store large sets of data, which would otherwise be difficult on local computers and networks.
It’s not just Microsoft that is using their cloud computing technology to fight against Ebola; IBM is too. The computer hardware company is using its cloud-based ‘super computers’ to aggregate and correlate information about the disease and people’s concerns. This information is then being shared with so they are able to share it with healthcare workers and medical professionals to ensure the right information is put out there.
Use of Cloud Based Technology to Track Ebola Outbreaks
IBM has also launched a new system using mobile and cloud-based technology to help identify locations where cases of the disease are on the rise. This information is allowing aid organisations and governments to effectively track the spread of the virus and target areas in need of more health care workers and medical supplies.
The mobile technology and cloud computing systems are currently being used in Sierra Leone, a West African country that has experienced one of the highest numbers of cases of Ebola. The system requires citizens to report any suspected outbreaks of Ebola (or related concerns) by sending a text message or phoning IBM’s new research laboratory in Africa. IBM’s cloud computing experts then add the information to a heat map to highlight emerging issues.
Samsung has also pledged to donate 3000 smartphones to Ebola medical clinics in the three worst affected West African countries. Using these smartphones, medics can access the UN’s Smart P