(Hilary Schwab/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

DHS S&T SVIP Awards Funding to Monitor Current and Future Biological Threats

To develop capabilities to monitor the current COVID-19 pandemic and other future biological events, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc., for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data. Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mesur.io is a current Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) portfolio company.

This award is made under SVIP’s Emerging Needs: COVID-19 Response & Future Mitigation solicitation and supports the National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC), located within DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD). NBIC uses cases from the solicitation, which seek data analysis tools to monitor trends and validate open-source data from authoritative sources.

The Mesur.io project proposes to adapt their Earthstream Platform to provide DHS and NBIC with data that tracks metrics related to an outbreak or emergence to predict various risks of a biological threat. It automatically identifies, extracts and links geospatial data with relevant data, such as demographics and travel, for easy analysis and improved reporting. The Earthstream Platform is currently used to identify and predict for emerging agricultural pathogens and invasive species. Alongside prior work related to Zika and Ebola, Mesur.io has applied the Earthstream platform to COVID-19 analytics involving forecasting and analysis of agricultural, economic, and health impacts.

“We are looking forward to embarking on another project with Mesur.io,” said Melissa Oh, SVIP managing director. “Their work in agriculture and other prior global outbreaks have demonstrated the project’s adaptability to meet our needs in monitoring the evolution of the current pandemic and anticipating for any future public health crisis.”

This Phase 1 project proposes to broaden the data source discovery engine and develop capabilities to discover quantitative data from authoritative sources to meet the data needs of DHS related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other possible future biological events.

“DHS is very excited to work with Mesur.io,” said Dave Shepherd, S&T program manager. “At its core, the Mesur.io product is rooted in automated, continuous learning. It promises to deliver a platform capable of automated discovery of data helpful to understand the effectiveness of responses to current and emerging diseases.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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