John Kumar

John Kumar

Principal AI Platform Engineer @ AstraZeneca

How AstraZeneca Scientists, Data Quality, and AI IT Teams Came Together To Accelerate the COVID Vaccine

In late 2020, against the backdrop of lockdowns and a global pandemic, AstraZeneca was striving to deliver a vaccine at cost. As the vaccine trials drew close, there was a need to accelerate the analysis of free-text reporting by doctors as part of the trial. There was a need to stand up both the infrastructure and a robust NLP model in a highly regulated, high-stakes environment. Ultimately, the team transformed the COVID-19 vaccine reporting process from days to hours. In addition to laying the foundation for an enterprise machine learning platform, this work was a small part of releasing the vaccine, which has saved an estimated million lives, prevented 50 million infections, and delivered 2 billion doses.


Dr. Rohan John Kumar holds a PhD from the University of Sydney in Pharmaceutical Science. After working with Royal Medal winner Andrew Holmes in one of Australia’s best chemistry labs, John emigrated to Sweden in 2017. He took up a position at AstraZeneca, initially supporting the development and production deployment of computational chemistry models before taking on challenges related to medical image classification. As part of this work, he developed a machine learning platform and is currently Principal AI Engineer in AstraZeneca’s AI Platform Team.