Days before the signing of the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, an Israeli company registered a patent for an AI-based vaccine priority at the UAE patent office, based on an Israeli application via the Paris Convention. The application relates to methods and systems to prioritise vaccinations and treatments, particularly with regard to their administration in the covid-19 pandemic (and pandemics in general). The AI-based vaccine priority system aims to help to decide who should get vaccinated first in order to halt the spread of the virus.
While the global race to develop a safe and effective vaccine against covid-19 is ongoing, many research institutions and pharmaceutical companies are getting very close, and it is reasonable to assume that they are months away from creating a vaccine or treatment. However, even after the vaccine is released, it may take years to manufacture and distribute across the globe. The truth is that there will not be enough vaccines for the global population. Therefore the new patented technology will establish priority guidelines to vaccinate the population by targeting those most likely to exacerbate the spread of the disease (ie, super spreaders). Data on the number and type of contacts that a person has can be used to identify whether they are a potential super spreader, based on their behaviour patterns and therefore deserving of vaccination priority. This should significantly reduce the disease’s transmission rate, also known as the basic reproductive number.
One of the inventors, Dr Gal Ehrlich, explained that while there are various models that establish priority systems in administering vaccines, none of the existing ones can be used for covid-19, since they will not prevent further lockdowns. If the small amount of available vaccines are used for medical care teams, critical infrastructure workers and the susceptible, this will still be insufficient to stop the spread of the virus. The inventive method is based on the analysis of data collected from smartphones, either by installed applications, operating systems or the country’s intelligence agencies. By tracing and vaccinating potential super spreaders, it will be possible to greatly reduce or eliminate the spread of the virus before the entire population can be vaccinated. The Israeli company responsible for the invention has filed an additional patent, which covers an improved method, whereby there is no need for any personal information to be taken from smartphones, so there is no need for collection of information by state intelligence agencies. In this method, the device holder evaluates their own potential to be a super spreader.
This is a historical move for the two nations. “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to file the first Israeli-based patent application in the United Arab Emirates since the recent UAE-Israel agreement and the end of the economic boycott. This is indeed history in the making”, said Ehrlich. This patent will also create a path for more Israeli inventors to file for a patent at the UAE Industrial Property Office and marks a new era of new and exciting business opportunities in various industries between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.