Machine learning technology has been incredibly important in addressing some of the most pressing concerns of the pandemic. A number of countries used machine learning technology to help with contact tracing and improve social distancing capabilities.
However, another benefit of machine learning is with the vaccination process. There are a number of reasons that machine learning is necessary to ensure that we administer vaccines quickly enough to reach herd immunity.
The Role of Machine Learning in the Covid-19 Vaccination Process
There are a number of ways that machine learning is helping with the vaccination process. A couple of the biggest are listed below.
Creating a Distribution Strategy
Every area has had its own challenges when it comes to distributing vaccines. Machine learning can help create a custom strategy for different regions and vaccination centers.
There are a lot of variables that machine learning algorithms can analyze when they help with this strategy. They can start by looking at the following data:
- Political affiliations of the state or county in question
- The overall age distribution of citizens in the area
- The distribution of pharmacies and other places handling vaccinations
- Social media data indicating the general sentiments around vaccinations
- Poverty metrics suggesting the number of people that might need to use the one dose vaccines
Machine learning algorithms can take all of this data into account. It can help make sure the right number of vaccinations are distributed to the right places and the process is handled as efficiently as possible.
Helping with Vaccine Development
Machine learning is also helping with vaccine development. A lot of companies are using production technology and logistics processes that could be operated a lot more efficiently with the right machine learning algorithms.
Unfortunately, machine learning technology doesn’t offer much benefit if the companies don’t have the right to produce the vaccines in the first place. They were curtailed by patent restrictions, which are thankfully being relaxed.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Creates New Opportunities for Machine Learning Vaccine Development Through Proposed Patent Waivers
Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known by her initials AOC, has praised the USA’s decision to waive the patents for the COVID-19 vaccines. AOC posted on Instagram to her 8.8 million followers showing her support of the Biden Administration’s stance on making the vaccines more accessible; however, she does not stop there. She then insisted that insulin must become the next life-saving drug to become patent-free. AOC is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district since 2019. She has been an advocate for universal healthcare and has made a name for herself in congress for standing up to big corporations, meaning a clear-cut stance on the waiving of patents hardly comes as a surprise.
This gives a huge opportunity for many production companies. They can start using machine learning tools to start expediting the development of new vaccines.
What are Patents?
Essentially, a patent gives an individual or organisation a monopoly on a particular invention for a specific period of time, which in the USA is generally 20 years. In the current climate, some of the world’s most controversial patents are those protecting the rights of companies producing insulin, a life-saving drug that enables people with diabetes to live somewhat normal lives.
Just How Far Reaching is The Problem of Diabetes in The USA?
There are over 34 million diabetics in the USA, just over 10% of the population, with an additional 88 million in a state of ‘pre diabetes’. This equates to over 1/3 of Americans either needing or being at risk of needing the life-saving drug. Medicine is big business in America, and insulin is no exception. American prices were found to be between 5.9 and 27.7 times higher than in various other countries around the world. One of the reasons for this is because the 3 main insulin producers – Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi – own over 90% of the market share. Between them, they generate billions of dollars annually and spend significant amounts in Washington D.C. lobbying to keep it that way.
Although Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are relatively new to the market, Eli Lily and Co have seen a 185% increase in the value of their shares over the past 5 years, showcasing how profit-driven the companies are. As we have seen with the recent drop in the share price of the major COVID-19 vaccine producers in response to the waiving of vaccine patents, how would the major insulin companies respond, and what would that mean for the future of Forex Trading?
Pharmaceutical Involvement in Washington D.C.
One thing we know for sure is that the major insulin producers invest a significant number of resources making sure their patents remain in force. It comes as no surprise that Pfizer, Amgen and Eli Lilly, all of which are pharmaceutical companies, were the biggest corporate spenders on lobbying in Washington D.C., combined, spending almost half a billion dollars over the study period. The companies know how important their patents are to their bottom line, and so do their shareholders. A waiving of patents on insulin would open production up to a variety of manufacturers, dramatically reducing the cost of the medication, thus eating into the profits of the companies and the current financial benefactors. These are all factors that generally lower the value of stocks associated with the industry.
It is clear that the future of the pharmaceutical sector on the stock market relies heavily on its ability to take advantage of loopholes in the U.S. patent system and for its companies to build a wall of patents around their drugs. However, with growing pressure from politicians and the general public, the era of strong patents may be coming to what many consider a long-overdue end.
Machine Learning Technology is Going to Make the Vaccine Distribution Strategy Better
The vaccination process is picking up speed throughout the world. Machine learning technology is helping immensely. The proposed patent waivers could be very important for facilitating the process.