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BlueDot Inc. is a private Canadian artificial intelligence software company based in Toronto, Ontario.1) It is intended to operate as an early warning system for emerging infectious diseases across the globe.

The company's ownership includes Golden Ventures, BDC Capital, The Co-operators, Horizons Ventures, and Ontario Centre of Innovation.2)

BlueDot is notable in the COVID-19 pandemic due to its role in detecting the initial outbreak of an “undiagnosed pneumonia” in Wuhan, China, and its apparent ties to the People's Liberation Army of China via Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-Shing.



BlueDot's team is made up of doctors, veterinarians, scientists, epidemiologists, data scientists, software developers, designers, and engineers.

BlueDot team members
Name Position Notes
Kamran Khan Founder -
Alexander Watts Employee -
Andrea Thomas-Bachli Employee -
Carmen Huber Employee -
Isaac Bogoch Consultant Member of the Modelling Consensus Table of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table


Air Travel Industry

Air Canada is a current client of BlueDot, as is the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA).


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contracted BlueDot through the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for its own COVID-19 modelling and monitoring.3) 4)

Other government clients include the City of Chicago and Taiwan Centers for Disease Control. California Governor Gavin Newsom praised BlueDot as “an incredible company that came in, looking with AI and big data to analyze travel patterns… We’re not looking again at the aggregate of our healthcare delivery system but where we’ll be stretched, by ZIP code.”5)


The company was founded in 2008 under the project name DiaSpora by Dr. Kamran Khan, a professor at the University of Toronto and infectious disease specialist at St. Michael’s Hospital.6) Initial development took place in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health, Ryerson University, the University of Manitoba and the world’s largest commercial airport and air transport organizations.7)

Khan cites the SARS outbreak of 2003 and its detrimental effects on the City of Toronto as the primary motivation for the creation of DiaSpora. The company is said to have “attracted interest from public health, biodefense and industry groups worldwide, all of which are looking for real-time, global epidemic intelligence to protect their interests.”8)

In June 2011, St. Michael’s Hospital brought Diaspora to MaRS Innovation for market potential evaluation.9)



DiaSpora produced a report in 2009 in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital titled “An Analysis of Canada’s Vulnerability to Emerging Infectious Disease Threats via the Global Airline Transportation Network”.10) In addition to Kamran Khan, the team included Julien Arino of York University and the University of Manitoba; Felipe Calderon, Angie Chan, Jennifer Sears, Paulo Raposo, Wei Hu and Christine Heidebrecht of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute; Dr. Michael Gardam of the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, University Health Network and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto; David Andrew Janes of the University of Waterloo; Michael MacDonald of Ryerson University; and Susan Wang of Queen's University. Funding was provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The report shows the same interest in the 2003 SARS outbreak as its lead author, Khan.

By 2011, DiaSpora had helped countries anticipate and react to the spread of disease at mass gatherings such as the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada and the 2012 Games in London, England, the FIFA World Cup, and the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.11)

DiaSpora partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard University to integrate the program with HealthMap, a technology that monitors public websites and global online media for news of emerging diseases.


After Ebola spread across Africa in 2014, the newly-renamed BlueDot predicted its migration out of West Africa and published its results in the Lancet.12) 13)


BlueDot accurately predicted a Zika outbreak in Florida six months before it occurred.14) 15)


According to BlueDot, the company was the first in the world to detect the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. It sent an alert to its customers on December 31, 2019, and used data on airline tickets to correctly predict the virus' travel to Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo.16) This came nine days before the World Health Organization sent out their own public warning.17)

In January 2020, a team led by Isaac Bogoch published a rapid communication titled “Pneumonia of unknown aetiology in Wuhan, China: potential for international spread via commercial air travel” with the BlueDot team.18) The paper was submitted to the Journal of Travel Medicine on January 8, 2020, revised January 9, and accepted January 10.


Data Processing

BlueDot developers adopted Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms to curate Big Data from many sources including global flights tickets sales data, animal infectious diseases data; population demographics data; hospitals & healthcare facilities data; livestock population data; real-time climate data; official reports from Public Health agencies, unofficial reports from local news agencies, media, and health care blogs; and infectious disease outbreaks data.19)


Vendeville, G. (2020, March 27). U of T infectious disease expert’s AI firm now part of Canada’s COVID-19 arsenal. University of Toronto News.
BlueDot Company Profile: Valuation & Investors. Pitchbook. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
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The first company to identify the coronavirus outbreak – Bluedot. (2020, June 23). Bayslope.
Canada’s plan to mobilize science to fight COVID-19. (2020). Prime Minister of Canada.
Our Clients | BlueDot Case Studies. BlueDot. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
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Impact Report 2010/2011. (2011). Centre for Research on Inner City Health; St. Michael’s Hospital.
8) , 9)
Bio.Diaspora: Preventing the next pandemic. (2011, November 24). MaRS Discovery District.
An Analysis of Canada’s Vulnerability to Emerging Infectious Disease Threats via the Global Airline Transportation Network. (2009). The Centre for Research on Inner City Health; St. Michael’s Hospital.
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Ogola, W. (2021, January 13). How AI predicted the Coronavirus Outbreak. Engineering Education (EngEd) Program; Section.
Bogoch, I. I., Brady, O. J., Kraemer, M. U. G., German, M., Creatore, M. I., Kulkarni, M. A., Brownstein, J. S., Mekaru, S. R., Hay, S. I., Groot, E., Watts, A., & Khan, K. (2016). Anticipating the international spread of Zika virus from Brazil. The Lancet, 387(10016), 335–336.
Who We Are. BlueDot. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
Niiler, E. (2020, January 25). An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus. Wired.
Bogoch, I. I., Watts, A., Thomas-Bachli, A., Huber, C., Kraemer, M. U. G., & Khan, K. (2020). Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology in Wuhan, China: Potential for International Spread Via Commercial Air Travel. Journal of Travel Medicine, 27(2).
Vuyisich, M., Gans, J., Chain, P., & Hatch, A. Systems and methods for identification of nucleic acids in a sample. Google Patents. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
Vuyisich, M., Gans, J., Klitgord, N., LI, Po-E., & Chain, P. Systems and methods for metagenomic analysis. Google Patents. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
Khan, K. Warning system for infectious diseases and method therefor. Google Patents. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
Khan, K. System and method to predict the global spread of infectious agents via commercial air travel. Google Patents. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from
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