FastCompany Reviews Metabiota's Epidemic Tracker: "Watch epidemics as they spread in real time with this new disease map"

We all know what the map looks like. We’ve seen it in movies and TV shows countless times–it depicts one red dot becoming a red circle and then a red world, as doctors race to contain a global outbreak. Now that map is a real thing you can explore. Built by Metabiota, a company that consults with governments on the spread of infectious diseases, their Epidemic Tracker allows you to track 70 epidemics occurring right now across the globe. Countries facing epidemics don’t glow a scary red, however. They appear in a cool blue. Clicking around, I learn that measles and salmonella are the most common across the U.S. and Europe–the results of anti-vaccination campaigns and food contamination, respectively. Meanwhile, Mexico and Brazil are dealing with Zika spread by mosquitos, and Nigeria is battling Lassa virus caused by rodents. Read more here.

Metabiota Launches New Epidemic Tracker Website

The World Economic Forum believes pandemics could cause a $570 billion annual loss to the global economy. With the proliferation of infectious disease threats, including the resurgence of Measles resulting in New York declaring a public health emergency last week to a recently discovered pathogen called Candida auris that has emerged globally as a multidrug-resistant infection, it has become more critical than ever before to have better insights into outbreaks and ongoing epidemics. That is why today Metabiota has launched the Metabiota Epidemic Tracker, a free, new platform to view, analyze and understand events that could impact people, industries and nations. “Until now, there has not been an effective way for organizations to plan for — and mobilize against — emerging health threats,” said Bill Rossi, CEO of Metabiota. “As we saw from the impact of the Zika virus, where travel alerts correlated to significant financial losses for the hospitality industry, infectious disease events can cause a ripple effect of health and economic hardships. This tracker aligns with Metabiota’s mission to make the world more resilient to human and economic health threats by providing an open, focused and balanced view into emerging and ongoing outbreaks.” Based on detailed information for over 120 pathogens, each with its unique profile, history and up-to-date statistics, including reported cases and deaths, The Epidemic Tracker is optimized for a wide range of users, from corporate risk managers assessing risks that could impact their organizations to health and safety professionals protecting their workforces to travel enthusiasts and anyone curious about the global health landscape. "Data and reports on epidemics are often unstructured, messy, and difficult to analyze,” said Ben Oppenheim, Head of Product at Metabiota. “A key part of Metabiota’s approach is to carefully collate, structure and validate this data, in order to understand how epidemic risk is unfolding over space and time. This tracker is designed to remove the complexities and deliver a simple and intuitive view of outbreaks around the world.” With its near real-time analysis of outbreaks and its downloadable biweekly reports called “The Current Global Outbreaks of Concern,” The Epidemic Tracker specifically aims to help corporations at-risk of being impacted by epidemics, such as those in the hospitality, tourism, sports, entertainment, airline, and livestock sectors, along with government organizations, like city and state public entities as well as those operating in national defense, intelligence, and disease research environments. For more information, visit For a copy of the press release content above, please click here.

The Evolution of Parametric Insurance

As excerpted from the article ... Epidemic and Pandemic Protection In 2018, Marsh collaborated with Munich Re and epidemic risk modeling firm Metabiota to create PathogenRX, a parametric insurance product designed to protect against the economic impact of infectious disease outbreaks. The product was designed for industries “that depend on people to show up,” like hotels and sporting events, said Christian Ryan, U.S. hospitality, sports and entertainment leader at Marsh. If public anxiety over an outbreak of Zika or Ebola keeps people away, those businesses can fail, and often do so quickly. The product uses a pathogen sentiment index developed by Metabiota that gauges public fear and behavioral change in the wake of an epidemic outbreak. According to Metabiota CEO Bill Rossi, the index was made possible by advances in disease tracking and reporting, software machine learning and artificial intelligence. Alerts by health authorities and fatality counts can also be used to measure the size of an outbreak. “With PathogenRX, we are pushing the boundaries of insurability,” said Gunther Kraut, head of epidemic risk solutions at Munich Re. “On this basis, risk layering within the policy structures is possible, which helps to achieve attractive risk premiums. The economic loss resulting from the epidemic event, however, is typically indemnified.” In this sense, it is actually a hybrid parametric insurance solution. To read the full article, click here.

Metabiota Insurance Advisory Board Member Discusses how "2019 is the year of alignment"

This is a transformative time for the insurance industry as it approaches the next phase of innovation to meet the evolving needs of the market. To help corporate risk managers and decision makers better understand the best ways to stay ahead of these changes, a collection of industry experts and advisory board members to Metabiota, the provider of epidemic risk modeling, is sharing top insights for 2019 and how companies can prepare and capitalize on the biggest opportunities. In the first of three guest posts, Gretchen Hayes, Metabiota advisory board member and venture partner at Sandbox Industries is digging into why she believes 2019 is the year of alignment… Recently the keynote speaker at a large insurance industry event challenged the audience to define the insurance business. He pointed out that had Kodak seen itself not in the camera business, but in the “preserving memories” business, its business model might have evolved long before the slow march to bankruptcy. As insurance professionals, many tend to label it as “the business of risk” or “loss prevention,” when, more broadly, we are actually in the “giving piece of mind” business. For risk managers of large companies, that mission typically means giving peace of mind to shareholders, employees and the Board of Directors, and can translate into a motto of “minimizing maximum regret!” To read more, click here.

International Travel and Insurance Journal publishes new Metabiota blog "Zika’s Impact on Tourism"

Mark Gallivan, Lead Data Scientist at Metabiota, explores how analysis of social media can help to calculate the economic burden of disease outbreaks such as Zika   Babymoon.  NOUN A relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born. - Oxford English Dictionary   Zika, microcephaly, and Latin America Expectant parents ask themselves many questions when deciding upon a babymoon locale. Should I go somewhere with a beach? How expensive are the hotels? And now, thanks to the Zika virus, does this location put my baby at risk for microcephaly?  Evidence is now overwhelming, but the link connecting microcephaly (abnormal smallness of a newborn baby’s head) and the Zika virus was originally met with doubt. Before 2015, Zika virus outbreaks (spread by mosquitoes) were much smaller, with no reports of microcephaly. Over the course of the recent Latin American Zika outbreak, Brazil and other countries began to report abnormally high numbers of cases and babies born with microcephaly.  The link between Zika and microcephaly was a game changer for how the public health community responded to the virus. The World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak to be a Global Health Emergency and governments began awareness campaigns largely aimed at pregnant women.  To read more of this blog, click here.

Homeland Preparedness News Reports on Metabiota's MPI Publication

New index offers tool to monitor global disease outlook A new global index offers an original way to monitor national-level preparedness for infectious disease, providing a holistic view of a country’s capacity to mitigate the spread of illness and pandemics. Created by researchers at Metabiota, the Epidemic Preparedness Index (EPI) factors in a country’s economic resources, public health communications, infrastructure, public health systems and institutional capacity. The goal is that this information can be tailored to create tools for governments and public health groups to better respond during a health crisis. The publication of the index appeared in the BMJ Global Health. To read more, click here.

Insurance Business Magazine Publishes New Metabiota Post on International Women's Day 2019

Why gender matters for global insurance companies With International Women’s Day fast-approaching on March 8, it’s more important than ever before for global companies to evaluate how well they’re diversifying their team and how to ensure the success of their female managers and executives, particularly those in the insurance industry. The share of women sitting on the boards of Fortune 500 companies is roughly 22 percent; however, a study by Catalyst shows that globally, the percentage of women participating in the labor force is declining. And in 2017, women only accounted for 22 percent of executive committee roles in North America. Moreover, only 12 percent of women in the insurance industry are in top management positions, according to a report from Credit Suisse. To read more of this article, click here.  

Metabiota Named to Oxbow Partners Impact25 Top Insurtech Companies List

More proof of the power and promise of Metabiota's innovative approach to epidemic risk modeling – Metabiota was recognized by Oxbow Partners as part of its annual InsurTech Impact 25, which highlights technology-led businesses that are best placed to impact the insurance industry in 2019. Oxbow Partners selects members to the IMPACT 25 list on two criteria: traction as measured by material revenues or revenue growth and potential as defined by a differentiated yet sustainable value proposition. To read more about IMPACT 25, click here. To download the report, click here.

Metabiota Publishes "Using Social Media to Estimate Zika's Impact on Tourism: #babymoon, 2014-2017" in PLOS ONE

Abstract Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other birth defects. We hypothesized that the Latin America Zika epidemic resulted in pregnant women and their partners adopting behavioral changes to limit risk, leading them to forego travel to Zika-affected locations. We evaluated this hypothesis by studying travelers’ intent and behavior through Twitter data related to babymoon: a holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born. We found the odds of mentioning representative Zika-affected locations in #babymoon tweets dropped significantly (Odds ratio: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.20–0.40) after the Zika-microcephaly association became well-known. This result was further corroborated through a content analysis of #babymoon tweets mentioning Zika-affected locations, which identified if the Twitter user was physically present in the Zika-affected locations. Conversely, we found a small but statistically insignificant increase in the odds of mentioning Zika-free locations from #babymoon tweets (Odds Ratio: 1.11, 95% CI: 0.97–1.27) after the Zika-microcephaly association became well-known. For access to entire publication, click here.

Metabiota Publishes "Assessing Global Preparedness for the Next Pandemic: Development and Application of an Epidemic Preparedness Index" in BMJ Global Health

Abstract Introduction Robust metrics for national-level preparedness are critical for assessing global resilience to epidemic and pandemic outbreaks. However, existing preparedness assessments focus primarily on public health systems or specific legislative frameworks, and do not measure other essential capacities that enable and support public health preparedness and response. Methods We developed an Epidemic Preparedness Index (EPI) to assess national-level preparedness. The EPI is global, covering 188 countries. It consists of five subindices measuring each country’s economic resources, public health communications, infrastructure, public health systems and institutional capacity. To evaluate the construct validity of the EPI, we tested its correlation with proxy measures for preparedness and response capacity, including the timeliness of outbreak detection and reporting, as well as vaccination rates during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Results The most prepared countries were concentrated in Europe and North America, while the least prepared countries clustered in Central and West Africa and Southeast Asia. Better prepared countries were found to report infectious disease outbreaks more quickly and to have vaccinated a larger proportion of their population during the 2009 pandemic. Conclusion The EPI measures a country’s capacity to detect and respond to infectious disease events. Existing tools, such as the Joint External Evaluation (JEE), have been designed to measure preparedness within a country over time. The EPI complements the JEE by providing a holistic view of preparedness and is constructed to support comparative risk assessment between countries. The index can be updated rapidly to generate global estimates of pandemic preparedness that can inform strategy and resource allocation. To read the entire publication, click here.