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Vodafone Dreamlab helps fight climate change whilst asleep

October 29, 2021

Vodafone Foundation has launched an international hunt for climate change research partners to help expand the focus of its award-winning DreamLab smartphone app.

Developed by Vodafone Foundation, DreamLab is a specialist crowdsourcing app that accelerates scientific research by using the combined processing power of dormant smartphones while users charge them. DreamLab-powered research has already contributed to COVID-19 research with Imperial College London and cancer research with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research

With more than 2 million downloads across 17 countries to date, the network of smartphones created by DreamLab is equivalent to a virtual supercomputer capable of processing billions of calculations without collecting or disclosing any users’ data.

In the year when the UN has identified climate change as the single biggest threat facing humans, Vodafone Foundation is now searching for organisations conducting research that require the large-scale processing power of DreamLab to analyse data on climate change.

To qualify, organisations would need to have an existing climate research project that is technically compatible with DreamLab and is addressing a specific climate-related issue that appeals across the 17 countries currently hosting the DreamLab platform.

Andrew Dunnett, Director SDGs, Sustainable Business and Foundations, Vodafone Group, said: “We’ve seen the impact and tremendous power of DreamLab and now we want to harness this to drive climate research and help to tackle the environmental emergency facing our planet.” 

Using DreamLab to accelerate research into cancer

DreamLab was launched in the UK in May 2018 to power important cancer research being carried out at Imperial College London.

Using DreamLab to analyse the properties of more than 8,000 everyday foods, the research identified more than 110 anti-cancer molecules existed in everyday foods including oranges, cabbages and grapes.

The second discovery was that two existing drugs designed for treated other conditions could potentially play a role in anti-cancer therapy.  With these drugs already in therapeutic use, their approval for use in fighting cancer carries lower costs, fewer risks and is quicker than developing completely new drugs.

The research facilitated by DreamLab has been reporting in scientific paper published by Nature, and Imperial researchers published a Hyperfoods Cookbook, featuring ten recipes that incorporate foods found by the research to have disease fighting properties.

DreamLab Corona-AI – accelerating research into potential treatments for COVID-19

The DreamLab Corona-AI project was launched in April 2020 by Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London, repurposing DreamLab to accelerate research into potential treatments for COVID-19 patients. DreamLab Corona-AI uses AI network machine learning to analyse virus-host interactome data and identify combinations of drugs and food molecules with anti-viral properties.

To date, the DreamLab Corona-AI project has completed more than 300 million calculations and tested 450 billion molecular combinations – the equivalent of 11,664 years of high-spec desktop computing time.

The first phase of DreamLab Corona-AI was completed in only six months and identified insights into existing medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and their potential to be ‘repurposed’ to target SARS-CoV-2.  Alongside those findings, the project has pin-pointed molecules with antiviral properties in everyday foods including berries, apples, oranges, lemons cabbage, broccoli, onions, garlic, parsley and beans.

Phases 2 and 3 are expected to complete in December 2021, with the results being made available to the medical community to facilitate clinical trials.  Food-related findings could potentially lead to additional dietary advice that may help patients recovering from COVID-19.

DreamLab now available in 17 countries on iOS and Android

DreamLab is available to download worldwide and is free to use for Vodafone customers in Albania, Australia, Czech Republic, DRC, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lesotho, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain and the UK. Customers in the Netherlands and those on other networks can connect via Wi-Fi or will be asked how much data they would like to donate to power the app.

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