How AI is Helping the Fight Against COVID-19

In these unprecedented times, governments and organizations around the world are coming with ingenious solutions and tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Software companies all over the world are employing advanced technologies to come up with tools that can better understand the spread of this pandemic while coming up with ways to better diagnose the virus. Being the first pandemic of the 21st century, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being hailed as the most important weapon in the fight against COVID-19. Multiple data science projects powered with AI, Machine Learning (ML), or Big Data are being used across various fields to predict, manage, and explain the different issues caused by COVID-19.

AI and the Fight Against COVID-19

As scientists around the globe continue their research on the COVID-19, the data pool continues to grow exponentially, which goes beyond the capacity of human intelligence. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in. AI is adept at identifying patterns from big data and has become a huge weapon against COVID-19. Due to advancements in natural language processing, speech recognition, data analytics, machine learning, deep learning, and other AI applications, it has become easier for us to diagnose the patients while developing vaccines.

Scientists around the world are doing articulate research on the origin of the virus and its treatment to curb this pandemic. Similarly, data science and big data are providing indispensable information for improving hospital management. Let us look at some of the ways AI is becoming humanity’s ace cards against this pandemic.

1. Diagnosis

Since the spread of COVID-19 is extreme, it can be curbed through immediate diagnosis. This can lead to quick response measures such as quarantine can be employed immediately to stop the infection further. Immediate responses mean there is a huge need for resources, even with a relatively short clinical expertise required to interpret diagnostic results due to the volume of cases. AI has improved the diagnostic time during the COVID-19 crisis through such technology that can quickly identify the symptoms and diagnose people. Predictive data analytics and cluster analysis based on similar diagnoses and symptoms are allowing rapid diagnosis.

2. Vaccine Research

A big part of the fear surrounding COVID-19 is because there is no immediate vaccine and definitive cure for this virus. AI is helping scientists and researchers around the globe come up with better and faster treatment solutions. Earlier this year, an AI-designed drug molecule went to human trails developed by a British startup, Exscienta. It took only a year for the algorithm to develop the molecular structure compared to the five-year average time it normally takes for research to develop a vaccine. In the same way, AI is leading the charge for the development of antibodies and vaccines to combat COVID-19.

3. Surveillance

Since COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease, responsible surveillance is highly crucial. Travel and human activity have been responsible for spreading this disease worldwide. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, it becomes possible to track, recognize, and report the spread of the virus. Apart from COVID-19, AI can be used in the future to predict the impact of various environmental impacts on humans hence predicting diseases and their treatment efficiently. Through the combined analysis of personal, clinical, travel, and social data from sources like social media, it would be possible to get more accurate and precise predictions of individual risk profiles and healthcare results.

4. Chatbots and Virtual Healthcare Assistants

As the number of COVID-19 cases around the world gets close to 4,200,000, it is evident that our healthcare systems and responses get overwhelmed. Amidst this pandemic, a Canadian based company has come up with a multi-lingual virtual healthcare agent based on natural language processing capabilities. It can answer questions related to COVID-19, provide reliable information and clear guidelines, recommend protection measures, check, and monitor symptoms, and advise individuals whether they need hospital screening or self-isolation at their homes.

5. Facial Recognition and Fever Detector

Thermal cameras have been in use for quite some time now but there was still a need of human operators. Now cameras using AI-based multisensory technologies are being employed in airports, hospitals, nursing homes, malls, etc. These cameras automatically detect individuals with fever and track their movements, recognize their faces, and detect whether the person is wearing a face mask.

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