Quality Data Analysis Helped Fast Track COVID-19 Vaccine Launch

Disruptive Approach of Parallel Processing With Data Science Led to Quicker Outcomes
Frank DePierro, senior director, vaccine R&D informatics and digital technology strategy at Pfizer

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global economy and caused critical health and humanitarian crisis.

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Amid the growing uncertainty over the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies had begun the production of vaccines after undergoing necessary trials and following regulatory compliances. Typically, it takes over three years to successfully launch a vaccine in the market. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech launched the BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine in six months. Together with the unparalleled efforts of the scientists, modern digital technologies and AI-driven data approach helped fast-track the production of the vaccine.

In a video interview with Information Security Media Group, Frank DePierro, senior director, vaccine R&D informatics and digital technology strategy at Pfizer, discusses:

  • How his department scaled up the technology to develop the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • The role of data science in the development and manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • The roadmap for Pfizer's digital technology, going forward.

"Without worrying about the failures, we began putting systems with capabilities that might eventually go waste. Because we had to programme systems for many instruments that were unheard of, these experiments were crucial," DePierro says. "A lot of legacy processes were disrupted. The compute and processing power required to analyze the big data was exponentially ramped up. Several new licences for coding software were to be negotiated overnight. All of this was aimed at generating accurate, quality data that can be pushed to regulatory agencies in real time for faster release of COVID-19 vaccine."

With an experience of nearly 18 years in medical research, diagnostics and pharmaceutical industries, DePierro's primary responsibility is to empower scientists and other stakeholders with qualitative data that can help reduce time to market with better accuracy.

About the Author

Rahul Neel Mani

Rahul Neel Mani

Founding Director of Grey Head Media and Vice President of Community Engagement and Editorial, ISMG

Neel Mani comes with more than 25 years of experience in B2B technology and telecom journalism. He has worked in various leadership editorial roles in the past, including incubating and successfully running Grey Head Media for 11 years. In his current role, Neel Mani is responsible for building and nurturing communities in both technology and security domains for various ISMG brands. Prior to starting Grey Head Media, he worked with 9.9 Media, IDG India and Indian Express.

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