When time is not an illusion. How could AI help vaccine development?

Dennis Constantinou 19 Mar 2020 6 min read
SDL Life Sciences
Vaccine development is complex and faces a number of challenges, yet the notion of “time” takes on a totally different significance when applied to effectively addressing influenza pandemics to the appearance of previously unknown zoonotic infections such as the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The notion that new infectious agents entering human populations and spreading rapidly is no longer unique. The proximity of humans to animal populations, human population density, and mobility are causative factors to the disease emergence and spread. Vaccines are the most promising line of defense in confronting these newly emerging diseases.

The speed at which infectious diseases emerge and spread places enormous demands on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology community and the vaccine development process as a whole.
A number of medical research organizations are rapidly mobilizing to address the current pandemic. While being acutely aware that vaccine development takes time and requires the necessary clinical trials and regulatory approvals, the negative impact of the translation process on the timelines associated with these mandatory steps is often overlooked. When implementing a multilingual labeling process research organizations need to confirm that their process:

  • Maintains accurate product information globally and automatically
  • Streamlines the process and improves efficiency
  • Ensures control over quality and information
  • Maximizes the reuse of content translated across all countries
  • Facilitates consistency of the information in all languages

Multilingual communications under the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were utterly dependent on the incompressible bandwidth and availability of linguistic resources that could at best each translate a dozen pages of content per day. Yet under COVID-19, recent and significant advances in linguistic artificial intelligence (AI) could drastically amplify translation output while helping companies save time.

Linguistic AI can now be incorporated in lockstep with the vaccine development process to support all multilingual communication tasks. Advantages of linguistic AI are:

  • Immediate increase in translation productivity
  • Use cases ranging from communications with the local Health Authorities to dossier submissions
  • Ensures security and confidentiality
  • Ease of deployment (weeks or even days) and integrations (Veeva Vault, etc)

As delays can have deleterious downstream consequences to the human condition, in a global race against time to develop vaccines to COVID-19, linguistic AI will help the biopharma industry bend the timelines associated with a traditionally incompressible translation process.

Dennis Constantinou

Dennis Constantinou

VP Industry Marketing
Dennis Constantinou is VP of Industry Marketing at SDL, where he oversees all aspects of marketing for SDL's regulated and commercial industries.
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