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LetsBeatCOVID.net launches to track the spread of the Coronavirus in the UK/US

A startup behind one of the world’s most successful tech platforms for doctors has launched a new initiative to try and track the spread of the Coronavirus, initially in the UK but soon in the US.

Developed by MedShr – the app used by a million doctors to aid them in the diagnostic process – LetsBeatCOVID.net is designed to allow members of the public to complete a short survey about their health and exposure to COVID-19 in order that health services can save more lives.

Members of the public are asked to complete a short anonymous survey about themselves and are able to add information for others in their household or family. They can then update their responses if their situation changes using a randomly generated code to log back in. MedShr says users will, therefore, be able to hide their identity if they are concerned about their privacy. They will, however, be asked to verify their location via the phone’s browser in order to generate more accurate data about the spread of symptoms.
 
Anyone who completes the survey and chooses to enter their email will also get personalized guidance to help them understand their personal situation.

The not-for-profit initiative is led by Dr Asif Qasim, a Consultant Cardiologist based in London, England. Dr Qasim founded MedShr, an online network that enables doctors to connect and share data and knowledge with each other, in 2013.

Dr. Qasim said: “A million doctors around the world are working very hard to protect patients with COVID-19 in difficult and unprecedented circumstances. We are hearing from them that they don’t have the information they need to plan services and avert a crisis such as the one Italy is now facing. We believe this app could help.” Dr. Qasim says the data will be shared with health authorities fighting the pandemic.

LetsBeatCOVID.net could make it easier for members of the public to provide the information urgently needed by hospitals and governments by allowing hospitals to understand how many people are: more likely to require medical help or hospitalization; have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms; have mild symptoms of COVID-19; or believe or know they have already had COVID-19 and recovered.

The spread and devastating impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented. Hospitals in China and Italy have struggled to care for the large numbers of people who become infected with the virus, especially those who needed Intensive Care and breathing support with a ventilator. Doctors and scientists believe that the UK, US and many other countries could be just a few weeks away from the devastating death toll that Italy is now experiencing. 

MedShr is a HIPAA and GDPR compliant professional network for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals currently used by over one million members in 190 countries.

American Airlines cuts long-haul international flights by 75%

American Airlines said it will suspend 75% of its long-haul international flights from the U.S., beginning March 16 in response to decreased demand and government travel restrictions put in place to lessen the spread of COVID-19.

American Airlines had already reduced its capacity. This latest move, which was announced Saturday evening, will slash international capacity 75% year-over-year. The suspended service will last through May 6, the airline said, adding that it will cut back on flights gradually over the next seven days to re-accommodate passengers and crew.

American Airlines said it will continue to operate one flight daily from Dallas-Fort Worth to London, one flight daily from Miami to London. It will also continue to fly three times a week from Dallas to Tokyo . American Airlines will also continue short-haul international flying, which includes flights to Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and certain markets in the northern part of South America. American Airlines said it anticipates its domestic capacity in April will be reduced by 20% compared to last year and May’s domestic capacity will be reduced by 30% on a year-over-year basis.

Other airlines have reduced capacity, including Delta, Lufthansa and United. However, American Airlines’ actions surpass other reductions in service.

The reductions follow an executive order by President Donald Trump last week to ban non-U.S. citizens who are from or have recently been in China, Iran or 26 European countries from traveling to the United States for the next 30 days. The ban was extended on Friday to Ireland and the UK.

The Department of Homeland Security has also issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions that requires American citizens, legal permanent residents and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. to travel through one of 13 airports upon arrival to the U.S., and then submit to an enhanced entry screening. They must then self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination, according to Homeland Security.

The 30-day travel ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or cargo.

Insurance AI startup Synthesized raises $2.8M from IQ Capital and Mundi Ventures

The insurance industry depends on data to support a number of functions the average person in the street is usually completely unaware of such as “informed risk selection”, underwriting and claims management. Like many industries, it would like to automate much of this but it’s just not that simple.

Synthesized is a UK startup that tries to reduce friction on preparing all the data that’s needed, to enable insurers to share data safely, complying with regulations. The more that happens, the more innovation can happen, such as insuring for a low-carbon economy, something which will become increasingly important.

It’s now raised $2.8m in a new round of funding co-led by Cambridge-based IQ Capital and Mundi Ventures, with participation from Seedcamp, Pretiosum Ventures, and a number of finance and technology executives in the UK. Financing from the round will be used to double the number of its employees in London, and build out its sales and product teams.

Cofounder Nicolai Baldin said: “Synthesized substantially reduces the time to develop and comprehensively test data-driven projects and as a result empowers engineers to build better products and services for end-users. With the new funding from IQ Capital and Mundi Ventures, Synthesized is well-positioned to facilitate its business operations to turbocharge development processes across many sectors, such as finance, insurance and healthcare.”

Ed Stacey, managing partner at IQ Capital said: “Responsible organizations are waking up to the need to ensure that their deployed machine learning systems are fair and unbiased, as well as being robust and accurate. Synthesized’s ability to create multiple, balanced data sets in a flexible way gives organizations and their customers the confidence they need in deployed production systems, while also greatly speeding up the development process. Javier Santiso, CEO and Founder of Alma Mundi Ventures, said that “The prospects for Synthesized are bright and we see the impact of synthetic data permeating almost every industry.”

Synthesized competes in various ways with product from Gretel AI, Snorkel, Tonic AI, Hazy and Mostly AI.