At least 65 million people are still suffering from Long Covid, the mysterious cocktail of symptoms that persists for more than 12 weeks after an initial infection in some patients. Researchers are still working to understand this disease, but progress has been slow so far.
That’s because Covid isn’t just a medical problem, it’s also a data problem, says Indra Joshi, director of health, research and artificial intelligence at Palantir, which specializes in big data analysis.
Before the pandemic, U.S. hospitals kept their data private, Joshi told WIRED Health in March, making it difficult for policymakers and researchers to identify disease patterns emerging nationwide. That’s why Palantir has worked with the US medical research agency, the National Institutes of Health, to create what Joshi describes as one of the largest collections of Covid-19 health records in the world.
The National COVID Cohort Collaborative, also known as N3C, is essentially a massive, collaborative database that allows clinicians and researchers to examine the anonymized data of people suffering from Covid-19 or related conditions. “Now if you’re diagnosed with Covid, your data goes into that enclave,” Joshi says, explaining that N3C now has 2.1 billion clinical observations. The data enclave also encourages clinicians to enter data in a standardized format so their findings can be easily compared to data from other US hospitals.
By harmonizing all this data, the N3C acts as a collective pool of information that researchers can delve into to try and find consensus on the enduring mysteries of Long Covid: what exactly are the symptoms? What treatments are people receiving? And how do they react to these treatments? The N3C data has already helped to better define the symptoms that make up Long Covid. It has also been shown that compared to white patients, Black and Hispanic Americans appear to have more symptoms and health issues related to long-Covid, but are less likely to be diagnosed.
“By bringing this information together and allowing many different researchers to work on this information, you can do a lot more research and publish a lot more,” says Joshi. “We have now learned much more about the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
https://www.wired.com/story/wired-health-palantir-big-data-long-covid/ Palantir’s Plan to Decipher the Mysteries of Long Covid