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How A.I. Strengthens the Battle against Coronavirus

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The whole world is anxiously grappling with the lockdowns and social distancing triggered by the COVID-19 epidemic. The virus outbreak is both an unprecedented challenge for the technology industry, and a unique opportunity too. Enthusiasts of artificial intelligence are pulling out everything to use this rapidly evolving technology as a tool to combat the pandemic.

Scientists, professionals and medical care experts worldwide are applying A.I. to understand better and contain the virus that causes COVID-19. This will allow them to treat infected patients better and potentially create vaccines that will avoid potential outbreaks.

A.I. is changing the way we handle and prevent coronavirus?

For some time now, A.I. has played a tremendous role in enhancing the overall quality and performance of healthcare areas such as big data analytics and advanced computing. It has enabled the information to be shared and used in a completely new way. It has dramatically improved the awareness of diseases and illnesses by medical care practitioners. Given the severity of the global coronavirus epidemic, governments worldwide are using AI-based strategies to combat the pandemic.

Speeding up Research on Viruses and Vaccines

Both medical researchers and virologists have pioneered work to understand the virus' structure. The epidemic has sparked unprecedented cooperation between researchers worldwide. It is primarily because of the COVID-19 outbreak size and severity. It is among the most contagious viruses ever known to the scientific community.

The virus structure represents a particular challenge for scientists. The virus belongs to an enveloped coronavirus family that comprises a single-started RNA structure. The fabric is covered up within a protein layer. It is similar to two-stranded viruses, such as HIV, Ebola, and Influenza. The tendency of the virus to mutate makes the production of a vaccine difficult for scientists.

That is where A.I. comes in. Tech companies around the globe are developing various AI-based techniques to assist the scientific community. Baidu Inc., for example, has made its Linearfold algorithm available to medical experts and researchers who are trying to control the pandemic. The Linearfold algorithm predicts the secondary RNA structure of the virus substantially more quickly.

The The AI-based algorithm offers useful insights for researchers on how the virus spreads from one species into another. Additionally, Baidu A.I. researchers have used the algorithm in predicting the secondary structure of the coronavirus. The phase of analysis was 120 times faster than the conventional way of analyzing the RNA.

Scientists believe that fast access to the virus's structure can shorten the development period for a vaccine dramatically with mRNA. Such vaccines may also have more excellent stability and effectiveness. Early vaccine development means a thousand lives are saved during an outbreak.

Tracking infections and Reducing Risks

Together with machine learning, A.I. can effectively track the trends of the virus spread across communities, countries, and geographies. Better access to reliable distributed data can assist health care authorities in taking appropriate preventive and management steps. AI-based analytical methods can also be used to understand past patterns and trends in the spread. For healthcare practitioners, such observations will be incredibly useful. The authorities will establish successful containment strategies by integrating the AI-based data with the expertise of epidemiologists and other specialists.

Furthermore, A.I. and ML can be used to control infection risk. The most critical threats when it comes to coronavirus infection are habits and behaviors in humans. Such behavior patterns can be analyzed using A.I. and ML to manage risky behaviors and diffuse awareness.

Secure and effective real-time screening

Nearly every epidemiologist worldwide has emphasized the role of extensive screening and testing in containing the outbreak. South Korea was a premature adopter of this pattern. The country started widespread screening and managed to 'flatten the outbreak's curve without even imposing any lockdowns.

Healthcare authorities need to have active monitoring resources, especially in those places that are crowded like public places and hubs of transport. This would encourage healthcare professionals to isolate infected individuals and reduce COVID-19 spread. Tech companies and industries are developing AI-powered, infrared sensor systems that help humans in crowded places to monitor temperatures. China already uses these technologies in areas such as railway stations.

Automating health care for infected people

The novel coronavirus infection causes pneumonia as the most severe clinical disease. A chest C.T. scan is known for being the most accurate pneumonia diagnostic examination. With fewer medical care professionals in the middle of the outbreak, it has become challenging to conduct a large number of such diagnostic tests. The battle against COVID-19 will be more successful, with automated diagnostic tests and various medical care activities.

For example, LinkingMed, a company that analyzes medical data, has published an open-source A.I. model for the analysis of pneumonia C.T. images (source: MIT technology review). The AI-based technique can diagnose pneumonia rapidly and efficiently, and provide details such as the number, amount, and size of pneumonia lesions.

Also, automated medical care services such as telemedicine can be beneficial because of coronavirus infection for persons under quarantine or self-isolation. Such programs will improve the healthcare system and reduce the chance of contracting the virus for medical professionals.

Final Verdict

The A.I. Avenue in the fight against COVID-19 is virtually limitless. A.I. and big data can be used together to explain the history of the spread of the virus across the globe. Methods of AI-powered data analysis will not only increase performance but would also help avoid future outbreaks.

We are observing the rapid developments in A.I. research and development.  For AI-powered fast production of software and testing processes in place, we have the first-hand experience with A.I. technology. As a tech-driven company, we are hopeful that A.I. will drastically improve the fight against this invisible enemy.

About the Author

With 10+ years of experience in leadership, research across the different industry verticals, Anil has helped several entrepreneurs to shape their idea into reality in the era of digitization.He is an innovative geek who has an interest in nextGen technologies such as AI/ML, Blockchain, and Data Sci...   View more...