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What is the role of AI in the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Aug, 2020 - By WMR

What is the role of AI in the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The world is swarmed by the COVID-19 pandemic since the January 2020. Ever since its breakout in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, ingenious fraternity around the world has come together to battle it. Not only from the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector but genius minds from technology and advanced computing sector have joined forces to fight the coronavirus. Typically, the world has leaned towards artificial intelligence, data science, and technology to track and fight the pandemic. There are numerous ways wherein artificial intelligence or AI is being used namely to fight misinformation, identify the track and forecast outbreaks, develop drugs and vaccines, and Chatbots to share information. Here it is how AI is helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

AI is helping government authorities to track, trace, and forecast potential cases of coronavirus. In such pandemics, it is crucial to trace and forecast the outbreak, since the virus already has the head start. AI learns from reports, social medial platforms, and government documents and then detect the outbreak. It is crucial that government authorities track and trace the potential cases so they can be separated from unaffected ones. Moreover, forecasting the outbreak can help authorities to take additional measures and reduce the impact. For instance, BlueDot, a Canada-based startup, is using AI to track infectious diseases. As a matter of fact, it warned the threat several days before the CDC and WHO did. Furthermore, as much as it is essential to track the infection, it is also crucial to fight-off misinformation spread via social media platforms. Misinformation about the number of fatalities, treatment, options, diagnosis, medicines, vaccines, and government policies can create massive panic and anxiety among the population. This could result in panic buying, price rise, violence, hoarding of essentials, and conspiracy theories. Therefore, tech giants such as Google, YouTube, and Facebook are working on reducing false information and guiding people by providing verified information published by WHO.

Another important aspect of AI is to develop drugs and vaccines. This coronavirus is highly contagious and until there is no medicine for it, slowing down the spread remains the only solution. In such situations, AI is playing a crucial role in suggesting components to develop antiviral drugs by understanding viral protein structures and helping medical researchers to scour vast information at significantly rapid speed. Furthermore, such pandemics have made the world realize the importance of vaccines as it is the only option that can end this disease. Australian researchers have been using AI, cloud computing, and advanced manufacturing to synthesize vaccine and accelerate its design.

Scientists believe it could potentially save a number of years in development time frames. As a matter of fact, scientists have used supercomputers to run thousands of simulations, in order to find an adequate combination for a potential vaccine. AI has shown its worth in fighting the pandemic by helping government authorities, scientists, healthcare officials, and common public valuable information. Chatbots offer free online health consultation services and have been essential for healthcare service providers. That being said, there is a long way to go before this pandemic is dealt completely. World leaders need to ensure that such technologies reach in every part of the world, even in poorer countries where healthcare infrastructure is already fragile.

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