Moderna and IBM jointly announced Thursday their intentions to explore technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain and hybrid cloud, that could help support smarter COVID-19 vaccine supply chain management.
Central to the effort will be a pilot of open, standardized, technology-enabled vaccine distribution approaches aimed to improve supply chain visibility and foster near real-time tracking of vaccine administration.
The aim is to identify ways technology can be used to help accelerate secure, information sharing between governments, healthcare providers, life science organizations and individuals.
In so doing, Moderna and IBM seek to improve confidence in vaccine programs and increase rates of vaccination, thereby reducing community spread, the companies said in a joint statement.
“Moderna is committed to working with a coalition of partners to increase education and awareness of the importance of vaccination to help defeat COVID-19,” said Michael Mullette, VP, Managing Director North America Commercial Operations of Moderna.
“We look forward to working with IBM to apply digital innovations to build connections between organizations, governments, and individuals to instill confidence in COVID-19 vaccines,” he added.
Initial work is planned to focus on exploring the utility of IBM capabilities in the U.S. which includes vaccine management solutions that provide end-to-end traceability to address potential supply chain disruptions.
The solutions enable governments and healthcare providers to share data quickly and securely regarding individual vaccine batches as they travel through the complex COVID-19 vaccine supply chain, from manufacturing facilities to administration sites.
In parallel, creating a Digital Health Pass, built on blockchain technology, as a solution designed to help individuals maintain control of their personal health information and share it in a way that is secured, verifiable and trusted.
Organizations can use the solution to verify health credentials for employees, customers and travelers based on criteria specified by the organization, such as test results, vaccination records and temperature checks.
“If ever there was a time to rally around open technology and collaboration, it’s now,” said Jason Kelley, Managing Partner, Global Strategic Alliances Leader for IBM
Adding: “As governments, pharmacy chains, healthcare providers and life sciences companies continue to scale and connect their tools, and as new players enter the supply chain, open technology can help drive more transparency and bolster trust, while helping to ensure accessibility and equity in the process.”
The work with Moderna aligns with IBM’s efforts to help address the COVID-19 pandemic by providing access to its technology portfolio. At the outset of the pandemic, IBM joined the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and other technology companies as part of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, a partnership to give supercomputing resources to researchers to help speed the discovery and development of COVID-19 vaccines.
IBM also offered its IBM Clinical Development (ICD) solution to eligible trial sponsor organizations as part of its medical community support efforts to help address the pandemic. The company reported that it received interest from numerous hospitals, sponsors, contract research organizations and academic institutions.