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General Published on: Fri Feb 10 2023
When the whole world was stopped and locked in their houses, the entire scientific research community, healthcare system, and government was struggling to get accurate information about the virus’s outbreak ; that is when AI came to the rescue.
Initially, the process for identifying COVID-19 patients and diagnosing the disease was extremely challenging. However, Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is playing a crucial role in understanding and addressing the COVID-19 crisis in a better way.
Machine learning technology enables computers to mimic human intelligence and quickly ingest large volumes of data to identify the virus’s patterns and insights.
AI tools and technologies facilitated policy makers, the medical community, and society to detect, prevent, respond, recover and accelerate research.
AI Detects COVID-19 using Chest X-rays
Northwestern University researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform that detects COVID-19 by analyzing X-ray images of the lungs. Earlier, a patient used to receive result of a COVID-19 test days, DeepCOVID-XR, powered by deep learning and the machine-learning algorithm proved 10 times faster and up to 6% more accurate in spotting the virus in X-rays. The system developed by Qure.ai also helps in identifying the extent of infection affecting the lungs. This is usually valuable for patients who remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Contact Tracing through AI:
Contact-tracing apps are already in widespread use in Asia to identify possible infection routes. These apps used geolocation data to identify people coming into close contact with known virus carriers and send them text messages directing them to isolate themselves immediately. They also help in identifying the clusters and hot spots. In affected cities, the government used drones for surveillance which helped check infringement of rules in containment zones.
Identifying Mask Violators through AI:
AI identified people who are mask violators with the help of AI cameras. The govt. authorities installed these cameras at Airports, railway stations, and other public places. The cameras will flag those not wearing the masks and an alert will be sent to the concerned surveillance authorities, which help them to trace the violators either riding bikes or walking on foot. These surveillance systems are continually upgrading and made more advanced to detect various kinds of masks, towels, and handkerchiefs of different colors with designs. The traffic police already use a similar practice to identify the traffic rule violators and 3-km limit violators by recognizing the vehicle number plates.
Development of Drugs and Vaccines:
Several institutions are using AI to identify treatments and develop prototype vaccines. DeepMind and several other organizations have used deep learning to predict the structure of proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. New technologies such as microfluidics, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence, combined with automated data analysis, can speed up the drug development and approval process. AI is also used for drug research by analyzing the available data on COVID-19. It helped accelerating the drug testing process in real-time significantly, which may not be possible by a human.
Projection of Cases and Mortality:
AI can track and forecast the nature of the virus from the available data concerning the risks of the infection and its likely spread. Moreover, it can predict the number of positive cases and death in any region. AI can help identify the most vulnerable areas, people and countries, further assisting the governments in decision making and developing strategic policies accordingly.
AI has proved its ability to do wonders whenever required. I have always believed in the potential of machine learning to help solve the biggest challenges in our world. When the battle with this pandemic is over, I think AI will become more prominent in the coming years in healthcare systems worldwide.
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