How AI is Fighting the Coronavirus


Applications of data analytics have become more relevant in this circumstance, compared to previous viruses, given the nature and peculiarities of COVID-19 itself. The virus incubates asymptomatically between 10 to 15 days, which makes it hard to detect immediately, as those carrying the virus can infect others without any knowledge of being sick.


Yet, by leveraging data science, experts are finding more ways to combat the pandemic, in some of the following ways below.


Identifying, tracking and predicting outbreaks

The use of data science coupled with AI can help us to quickly identify outbreaks and track the virus. AI has the capability to analyze a myriad of information sources ranging from social media, government correspondences, and news reports in order to determine the next possible place of an outbreak. 


For instance, a Canadian tech company BlueDot was said to have sounded an alarm about the novel coronavirus several weeks predating the formal alerts from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


It did so by employing its proprietary AI algorithm to analyze a huge amount of data gathered from news sources, airline ticket data reports from plant and animal disease tracking networks. Therefore, this connotes that the use of data science can help us predict where next the disease will go, determine the level of widespread and how the spread can be curtailed.


AI diagnosing the COVID-19

Since the advent of the novel coronavirus, a number of tech companies have launched several AI-based solutions. Among these is the COVID-19 AI diagnosis and detection systems.


For example, Alibaba was reported to have built an AI-based diagnosis system that has 96% accuracy in diagnosing the virus within 20 seconds. Another rival healthcare firm Ping An was quoted to have launched a smart image-reading system. This diagnostic system has provided services to over 1,500 medical institutions with over 90% accuracy rate.



In addition, according to Newswise, Surgisphere Corporation is another company that has launched a rapid diagnostic tool for COVID-19 by leveraging advanced machine learning. The AI tool is reported to have 93.7% sensitivity and 99.9% specificity. 


Development of drugs vaccines via AI

As the research by health professionals to develop drugs and vaccines can help cure or prevent the deadly virus is ongoing, many tech giants are also coming up with new discoveries. Despite some obvious challenges AI technology has continued to offer a glimmer of hope to many around the world. 


In its latest discovery, Google’s DeepMind unit employed its novel AI algorithms together with its powerful computing prowess to decipher the proteins that might make up the coronavirus. The findings were made available to other healthcare professionals and researchers to develop treatments for the virus. 


BenevolentAI also deploys AI solutions to develop drugs capable of combating deadly diseases. Currently, the company is at the forefront of providing support for fighting the coronavirus. Notably, BenevolentAI employed its predictive capabilities in proposing relevant drugs that might be used within weeks of the coronavirus outbreak.


Due to the nature of this virus, organized effort is now being engineered worldwide, from China to the US and Israel, to leverage the power of AI to come up with a vaccine.  Companies employing AI to develop possible coronavirus medicines include Moderna Therapeutics, AtomwiseIktos, and Vir Biotechnology.


Identifying infected or non-compliance persons  

Prompt identification of infected persons is the key to effective control of COVID-19. What makes the virus so deadly is the possibility of the disease spreading during incubation without any visible symptoms. So, AI technology and data analytics can be used to identify carriers of the virus.


China is leading other countries in the use of AI technology in identifying infected persons. The country’s advanced surveillance system uses facial recognition technology and temperature detection software to spot people who may have a fever, and are thus more prone likely to have the virus. 


Bots and drones to deliver food and supplies

One of the major ways to reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 is by restricting movement and physical contact. More people are likely to stay home, meaning more robots and drones will be deployed for delivery. 



For instance, Blue Ocean Robotics deployed UVD robots that kill viruses and bacteria using ultraviolet light. Another example is Terra Drone, which uses its drones to transport medical supplies and quarantine materials in China.


Final thoughts

The applications for AI are endless, and in a time where governments and organizations need all the help, they can get, relying on artificial intelligence to help fight against the coronavirus is absolutely necessary. While AI is still far from replicating or even replacing human intelligence, nor is it a one-off solution it can still help speed up the process in combating the Covid-19.


With the retail industry being one of the hardest to be hit by the outbreak, relying on technologies like AI to help optimize inventory is more important for retailers than ever before, especially with the economic recession underway. Despite China’s (the point of origin for the Covid-19, and first to be hit) supply chain slowly recovering, the mass supply of orders is overtaking demand, causing brands to cancel orders. This has caused overarching challenges in the supply chain, with retailers figuring out how to optimize their inventory.


With Chain of Demand’s newly refined predictive models incorporating coronavirus data into it, companies can learn to react quickly to market demand and optimize their inventory purchase.

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