Google has partnered with children’s charity Unicef, lending engineers to the cause and donating $1 million to support the charity’s work on the ground to fight Zika virus.
Before the outbreak in South America, nobody knew about the virus, although rumor has it that the virus was first discovered in Uganda. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency because of increased birth defects and microcephaly.
The worst thing about the virus is that victims don’t show any symptoms, and the primary transmitter for the disease, the Aedes mosquito species, is both widespread and challenging to eliminate. However, Google is planning to combat the spread of zika virus.
“As a company whose mission is helping people find information, with a lot of experience in analyzing large sets of data, we’re in a good position to help—at scale and at speed. So today we have Google engineers working with UNICEF to analyze data to determine how to map and anticipate the virus. We’ve also made some updates to our products to make Zika information more accessible.” Google wrote.
Google engineers are going to use their skills in processing data from different sources like weather and travel patterns. The data will be used to point out potential outbreaks. “The goal of this open source platform is to identify the risk of Zika transmission for different regions and help UNICEF, governments and NGO’s decide how and where to focus their time and resources.” Google added.
Google provides that they will use the $1million grant to reduce mosquito population, create awareness on the effects of Zika virus, support the development of diagnostics and vaccines and work with communities and governments to prevent Zika virus transmission.
In addition, Google is planning to make the information readily available on search. The tech company will also use popular YouTube creators to use their channel raise awareness about Zika prevention.
Google’s prototype will also be used in the future to protect people from unpredictable outbreaks.