You may have seen our recent social media posts about our Trinity Challenge Application. We are happy to say we submitted our final application at the end of last week and wanted to share a more detailed update with the community. This is an amazing opportunity for the project and we are excited to be involved. We will continue to post updates on the blog as we progress.
For context, the Trinity Challenge is a call to action for the world’s best and brightest minds to contribute ideas and innovations, with £10M in awards for the best Challenge Teams. There will be a grand award of £2M with rest distributed amongst other projects with a maximum of £1M. The objectives of the challenge are to develop solutions and systems that can identify, respond to, and recover from global health emergencies. HealthECCO and CovidGraph are ideally placed for this challenge. We have framed our application in terms of responding to future health crises as that is where we feel our platform will have the most impact.
Since November 2020 when we submitted our initial application and over the last five months we have been talking to a number of Trinity Challenge members who expressed an interest in our platform or supporting our final application.
The Cancer Unit occupies half of the Hutchison-MRC Research Centre which has modern laboratories for experimental and computational research. As an academic department of the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge and situated at the heart of the rapidly expanding Cambridge Biomedical Campus we are ideally situated for interactions with research scientists working in neighbouring institutes.
A Principal Investigator in the MRC Cancer Unit at Cambridge University expressed an interest in supporting our application and our initial discussions were very positive. Their research group studies gene and genome regulation in immunity, inflammation and cancer using computational biology and data science approaches
They will be able to contribute expertise in antiviral immunology, genomic multiscale data integration, network science and machine learning (and data) to HealthECCO and our CovidGraph project as well as potentially sitting on HealthECCO’s Scientific Advisory Committee once we are up and running.
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
CHAI’s mission is to save lives and reduce the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries around the world. We aim to strengthen the government and private sector to create and sustain high-quality health systems in the countries where we work.
CHAI were particularly interested in CovidGraph and yWork’s Visual Graph Explorer as a tool to explore scientific literature in the context of generating accurate guidelines in, and for the developing world. They offered some interesting perspectives on where CovidGraph might add value suggesting that a system like CovidGraph could help ministries/WHO members who are creating treatment guidelines. Such a tool could illustrate how all the research is connected and make sure all evidence has been reviewed and considered.
CHAI will also help HealthECCO to reach out to a more global network of people and organisations who can not only help inform the direction that the CovidGraph ecosystem develops, but also make productive use of the platform.
Dr.Evidence™ is the leading medical intelligence platform for Life Sciences companies that enables users to identify breakthrough insights grounded in the vast universe of published medical information, real world evidence and proprietary data.
Dr Evidence is a US based company that offers NLP and search products focused on health. They have three main products: Doc Analytics, Doc Search and Doc Label. Dr Evidence are open to the possibility of sharing access to some of their APIs which could provide a major enhancement to CovidGraph.
With a platform as powerful as CovidGraph there are clearly a number of ways that we can see CovidGraph expanding and developing. The Trinity Challenge has helped us to focus our ideas and to target three main user groups who we see as being most able to use our tools to respond to continuing and future health emergencies: Policy makers, health workers and researchers:
- Our solution will help a diverse set of policy makers to create robust, harmonised health care policies (such as treatment guidelines) faster while accommodating local variations. This will in turn have a huge impact on large cohorts of patients. In collaboration with CHAI we can target health authorities responsible for populations that do not have access to high-quality treatment guidelines yet.
- For health workers, the key benefit is a much improved basis for decision making. With limited understanding of emerging diseases, health workers have to identify a guideline, study or case report that is applicable for the patient at hand. Access to established information sources in combination with case reports and grey literature delivers contextualized insights to improve treatment decisions.
- For researchers, we provide a much faster way to access information outside of their specialty. For example, one of the first observations during the Corona crisis was that SARS-CoV-2 affects multiple organs. An understanding of this mechanism is only possible by looking at various physiological systems. Further understanding of disease mechanisms and proposals for new treatments also requires a broader understanding. Traditional scientific exchange of information via published reports and clinical trials is too slow to respond to health emergencies.
The underlying basis of our application has largely been informed by discussions with our community and Trinity Challenge members.
- Discussions with a front line physician in Chicago and an infectious disease specialist in Cape Town suggested that there is a strong use case for streamlining access to the research data behind guidelines that will be incredibly useful in their fields.
- Discussions with CHAI suggests that tools to streamline the generation of guidelines are currently not widely available and would potentially have a significant positive impact, especially for use in low-income and developing countries.
- Early observation + other grey data, if properly processed via NLP would enhance the graph.
- The discussions with Dr Evidence suggest we may have a way to enhance the relationships in the graph more generally with NLP.
- Our Graph and applications have largely been built out of existing projects in production so we have a robust base on which to build a Guideline app.
- Data that we add to the graph to support guidelines would also be available to any other apps in our ecosystem.
The deadline for submissions was 18 April and The Trinity Challenge reported over 330 applications from over 60 countries which speaks volumes about the impact initiatives like The Trinity Challenge are having on galvanising proactive innovation and global collaboration. HealthECCO is happy to play a part and regardless of the outcome we look forward to working not just with our growing community but also the new connections we have made through the application process.