October 3, 2023

Science – Darmstadt – Merck Prize for Early Detection of Epidemics – Knowledge

Darmstadt (dpa) – Chemistry professor Khaled Salita has been awarded the Future Inside 2023 Prize by the Merck Chemical and Pharmaceutical Group in Darmstadt for his research on an early warning system for epidemics. The company announced Tuesday that the 44-year-old is developing a platform for real-time automated monitoring and tracking of airborne pathogens with his research group at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The scientist who grew up in Jordan gets paid 500 thousand euros for his work. The value of the award amounts to one million euros and is awarded each year for different research areas.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us how important it is to be prepared,” said Merck CEO Belén Garrijo. An effective early warning system for identifying potential threats is still missing. Salita’s pioneering work can help fill this critical gap in our global defense systems. “Our research paves the way for the use of DNA engines that enable fully automated detection of pathogens without human intervention or sample processing,” said the 44-year-old. Next year, the prize will be awarded for research into combating epidemics with the help of artificial intelligence.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 230711-99-364355/2

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