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Oracle and Customers Are Stepping Up in the COVID-19 Fight

By Ariel Kelman, Oracle—May 5, 2020

We continue to do everything we can to make it possible for our customers and partners to adjust to the unique demands and operational challenges they may be facing.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen hundreds of examples of how our customers, partners, and employees are making an impact during this crisis. We’ll be sharing many more of these over time, but I wanted to give you a quick sample of the many ways in which we have partnered closely with our customers to make a difference during these unprecedented times.

Supporting healthcare organizations and institutions

Healthcare organizations, governments, and researchers are all working together in the fight against COVID-19. We’re supporting our customers as they look to find vaccines and drug therapies, connect patient data and support citizens’ healthcare needs—all with the ultimate goal of saving lives.

For hospitals, managing the flow of people coming into their facilities and clinics for testing is a priority, as is preventing cross-infection once people are onsite. Working with Oracle, Hulunbuir People’s Hospital in inner Mongolia was able to use the Oracle Application Express (APEX) programming tool to build and deploy a laptop-based application in just three days to digitize admission processes and eliminate a paper-based process that risked spreading the virus.

The central Mexican state of Queretaro has, with Oracle’s help, stood up a COVID-19 pre-screening web application to help citizens determine if they should get tested based on their symptoms. The goal is to keep the limited testing facilities available for the most at-risk people. During its first week, the system, which utilizes Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer database, Java, and WebLogic, processed more than 15,500 questionnaires.

Even non-healthcare companies are trying to pitch in. Manufacturers, for example, are doing their part to help meet the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) used by front line healthcare workers. Bedford Industries, which in normal times manufactures plastic twist ties for bread and produce bags, and flexible wires built into medical masks, has nimbly shifted to making the face shields that are in short supply for front line personnel. As word got out, the company was inundated with online orders—not from its traditional customers, but from local fire departments, nursing homes, even grocery stores—all of which now find themselves on the front lines of a pandemic containment effort. The Oracle NetSuite professional services team worked tirelessly to help the company get an online store up and running in a matter of days.

Enabling researchers with technology

Oracle itself has also been actively engaged in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Our primary goal has been to develop and deploy a series of cloud applications that will gather the data necessary to enable health professionals to answer one critical question: What drugs are effective in treating or preventing the COVID-19 virus? Oracle donated a Therapeutic Learning System to the US government that allows physicians and patients to record the effectiveness of promising COVID-19 drug therapies. This was created in partnership with US agencies such as the NIH, FDA, CDC, CMS, and HHS. By collecting this real-world patient data, we hope to discover which of the drugs are most effective against COVID-19, their optimal dosages, and how early in the disease progression the drugs need to be administered.

In the UK, the University of Bristol is using a combination of supercomputing cycles and Oracle Cloud computing to screen thousands of chemical compounds for potential efficacy against the virus.

And, we’re providing immunology experts at Flinders University, located in Adelaide, South Australia, and Vaxine Pty Ltd, a biotechnology company based at Flinders, with the infrastructure and high performance computing resources needed to model the COVID-19 virus proteins, thereby helping reduce vaccine development timelines from years down to months.

Oracle is also making high performance computing power available to researchers—like the Folding@home Consortium—looking for a cure for COVID-19. Folding@home crowdsources computing power in order to simulate the dynamics of proteins—notably a behavior known as folding – in order to discover how the virus reproduces itself and suppresses immune systems. Oracle’s high performance computing team has been among the top contributors to the consortium. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is also running the job-scheduling server, which manages the queue of computing work across the widely distributed machines used by the project.

The COVID pandemic is having a significant social and economic impact around the world, and will continue having repercussions for years to come. We are committed to standing with our customers to meet the challenges we face now as well as those that lie ahead.

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