Pentagon Taps Rescue Funds to Use AI for Virus Care, Vaccine - Bloomberg Government


The Defense Department is seeking to adapt artificial intelligence technology it uses to track down terrorists with drones or predict when aircraft need maintenance for a new purpose: screening and testing novel coronavirus treatments and vaccines. The Pentagon plans to boost existing programs with money Congress provided under the virus-relief CARES Act for the "development of artificial intelligence-based models to rapidly screen, prioritize, and test Food and Drug Administration approved therapeutics for new COVID-19 drug candidates." The AI funds would also be tapped for human test trials for vaccines and antibody based treatments, according to the spending plan the department submitted to congressional panels. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the Senate's No. 2 Democrat and ranking member on the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, pressed for the plan's release. While the amount of money the Pentagon wants to use on these programs is small---close to $1 million--it shows some of the department's urgency to apply new technology to choke off the pandemic.

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