Data analytics company, Palantir is helping to develop a system that will assist U.S. local authorities in prioritizing and allocating COVID-19 vaccines. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Tiberius, the system that the Journal revealed will analyze demographic, employment, and public health data. For example, this information could show areas with high proportions of healthcare workers or clinically vulnerable people.
With efforts to produce a vaccine expanding rapidly, and at least one pharmaceutical company indicating it will seek authorization for a vaccine in the U.S. in November, this kind of data will be crucial in determining the areas of greatest need.
The company has made a recent expansion in the healthcare sector after signing a $7 million contract with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in 2018. This year, Palantir began to work alongside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to analyze data related to the novel coronavirus in a program dubbed HHS Protect.
HHS awarded two contracts to Palantir, valued together at $25 million, to analyze COVID-19 data from government, healthcare providers, and universities. More recently it has worked with British health officials as well as with Google and Microsoft to track the progress of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Now, the Tiberius platform that Palantir is helping to build, will use demographic and public health data, along with COVID infection data, to determine possible inventory constraints and identify vaccine distribution bottlenecks and administration gaps.
Above all else, Palantir is a data-mining company, and excessive data tracking has been a point of contention. Some who advocate for privacy rights say that Palantir violates peoples’ data, particularly with its government contracts. However, according to HHS, Palantir is a subcontractor building Tiberius, and no personally identifiable information will be used by the project.
Despite the company’s somewhat controversial past, Palantir, which is now valued at $22 billion, may be stepping in the right direction to assist with efforts that will hopefully begin to curb the spread of COVID-19.