In recent times, there is a bit of skepticism about Artificial Intelligence (AI). There is fear about its misuse and its less collaborative nature with humans. But, AI has done more good than evil amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In its current form, AI is effective enough to help us fight the coronavirus outbreak. Let’s take a look at how we can leverage AI to fight coronavirus like pandemics.
Drug Discovery & Development
AI is playing a crucial role in drug discovery and development against COVID-19. BenevolentAI, Longevity Vision Fund’s Insilico Medicine and Google’s DeepMind among others have leveraged AI-based systems to speed up drug discovery and development processes.
BenevolentAI is using its predictive capabilities to help identify existing drugs that can be useful against coronavirus. Insilico Medicine has been used to accelerate drug trials and vaccine development by identifying new molecules that can be used as potential medications for coronavirus. The algorithms and computing power of DeepMind has been used to detect and understand proteins that make up the virus.
AI can assist in identifying an upcoming pandemic faster that gives enough prep time or even prevent the outbreak from going out of control. Blue Dot, a Canada-based company had identified the Wuhan outbreak even before the population worldwide got to know about it. It used Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and AI to sift through 100,000s of posts and articles in about 65 languages daily to flag the unusual pneumonia cases in China.
Front-line workers can leverage AI to monitor and identify coronavirus positive cases more efficiently. Alibaba, China’s tech giant has released an AI-based tool that can quickly diagnose COVID-19. This company claims that their AI tool can identify coronavirus from CT scans of patients with an accuracy rate of 96%. It requires only 20 secs for the AI tool to come to a conclusion whereas it takes about 15 minutes for the humans to come to the same determination.
Drones are the most suitable for delivering medical supplies to healthcare providers during a pandemic. Terra Drone, a Japanese-based company employed a UAV system to transport both quarantine and medical supplies to Xinchang County’s Disease Control center from People’s Hospital during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Drones can also be utilized for patrolling public places, thermal imaging, and checking for non-compliance of quarantine mandate.
Track Virus Outbreak
Researches have turned to social media and AI to track the coronavirus as it spreads across the world. An expert team at the Boston Children Hospital has used ML to sift through official public health channels, news reports, doctor reports, and social media posts and came up with a heat map that live-tracks the COVID-19 virus and can be accessed publicly.
Reducing human-to-human contact is the need of the hour amid a disease outbreak. This can be achieved by deploying robots for various tasks such as cleaning and disinfecting quarantine facilities and hospitals. Robots can also be used for delivering food and medicines. A Shenzhen-based company called Pudu Technology has deployed robots to help around in about 40 hospitals in China during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
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