Covid-19 remains a pressing problem. AI and genomics can speed vaccine and drug R&D, but we need better privacy first.
To learn more about emerging privacy-first AI and what biobank network would bring to Europe's disease response, read our full report, “AI, Privacy, and Genomics: The Next Era of Drug Design”.
2020 started with the global spread of Covid-19, a novel coronavirus. Countries’ economies, international politics and citizens’ day-to-day lives were all affected. Therefore, authorities and experts turned to drug industries and medical research to find a vaccine urgently.
‘AI solutions have the potential to improve healthcare by supporting physicians in making faster, better informed and more accurate decisions’.
AI can offer a workable solution to speed up the drug and vaccine discovery. But, what might be the consequences for our privacy?
Our latest report focuses on the use of AI in healthcare and drug discovery, and the implications on individuals’ right to privacy. Since our genetic data is our identity, it’s imperative to go deeper into privacy. As a result, we need to consider confidentiality, the correct use, and the respect of blood relatives’ privacy.
Decoupling genetic data from personal information is not enough to protect individuals’ privacy. Encryption is one of the most promising solutions, as Andy Repton, Security Officer of Aidence, outlined:
‘Homomorphic encryption techniques not only give the ability to provide your encrypted data to a third party and have it processed without ever being readable, bringing a huge asset to privacy but also can theoretically be resistant to quantum computing once/if it reaches maturity, unlike our current standard asymmetric methods of encryption’.
In this report, we explore the new technologies and encryption models in AI, and how each of them can contribute to drug discovery.
However, the innovations in encryption are not enough. We propose a European decentralised network to connect data providers with researchers. This solves issues of tracking requests, data access, and storage. The EU has already spearheaded the right to privacy with GDPR. Playing off this, AI development could secure our privacy while improving drug R&D.
Overall, the future of medical research needs to be more cost-effective and efficient. Through innovative data-sharing systems, we can improve drug R&D while preserving privacy and data ownership.