IBM and Coronavirus stories

Vaccine Delivery Works Best in the Open

December 21, 2020

As IBM has proven throughout our history, the instinct to step up and help solve society's biggest challenges is hardwired into our values, our identity. 

In this moment, we are called to tackle the most logistically-complex challenge of our lifetimes, one reliant on data and trusted collaboration: Stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is a global problem that demands a truly global solution, one that requires that our best tech industry players work in unison to save lives and jumpstart the global economy.

That is why IBM has made available a highly-adaptable, open platform to facilitate the delivery of the life-saving vaccines scientists developed to billions of people across the planet. By bringing the power of blockchain, data and AI, security, and hybrid cloud together, we are helping the public and private sectors speed the medicines from production facilities to doctors’ offices in an efficient, trusted, and equitable way.

In the last mile, IBM technologies are empowering individual citizens with a verifiable and privacy-preserving way to digitally manage and share their health status, including securely scheduling immunizations, tracking medical test results, exchanging anonymized data, and staying abreast of additional medical care.

Scaling these vaccines isn’t straightforward. The task poses a complicated set of challenges during a time when public trust is strained. So IBM’s platform is tailored for collaborative use up-and-down supply chains, allowing governments, shipping companies, healthcare organizations, technology partners and competitors, the ability to plug into a network that empowers all stakeholders.

Because this is not a zero-sum game, it won’t be achieved by any one company. It is a job that requires collaboration across a highly-adaptable foundation of technology that will speed access to life-saving vaccines and, in turn, jumpstart the global economy.

Since the early days of the pandemic, IBM has marshaled our technology and human capital toward this global effort. We established a national labs consortium and contributed significant supercomputing resources toward the discovery of cures. We created real-time mapping tools to understand outbreaks, donated clinical development software to speed new treatments, and deployed security experts to thwart cyber-espionage efforts targeting vaccine legitimacy.

It’s this very same spirit that powered IBM’s work during the Great Depression developing the data processing backbone of the modern US Social Security Administration. It inspired us to create technology for the Apollo missions that sent the first human to the moon. Then it propelled our innovations behind DNA transistors that mapped the human genome. And most recently we have applied IBM’s ingenuity to creating AI, blockchain and quantum capabilities that are improving health care, food safety and education. 

All of these efforts have a common theme—the betterment of society achieved collectively.

IBM is determined to again work with this same ethos so that future generations can look to this moment with pride and a sense that we all played a vital role in the solution.

We hope you’ll join us.

Bridget van Kralingen
IBM, Senior Vice President, Global Markets