How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jun 30, 2020 7:00:00 PM

AI in Healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 9 million lives worldwide. The virus infection is disseminating like wildfire, putting pressure on the global economy and marking a downfall of various businesses. 

In this challenging time, technology is assisting many industries to get through. The healthcare industry, which includes the care providers and researchers, are striving to provide the finest medical facilities to the infected people and rigorously research for its vaccination to put an end to its spread. Amid these efforts, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technology that’s empowering the healthcare system. 

With its potential to analyze a huge amount of data (Machine Learning), recognize objects & faces (Computer Vision), process human speech (Natural Language Processing), Artificial Intelligence is turning out to be the trump technology in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. AI is helping in the diagnosis and monitoring of coronavirus. In fact, it is aiding researchers in drug discovery. 

There are some exceptional ways AI has been helping the healthcare industry in winning the battle against COVID-19. Here, we take a look at some of the examples that demonstrate the potential of AI to deal with the pandemic times.

1: Detecting Severe COVID-19 Cases

The researchers at New York University developed an app powered by AI and big data. It detects which patients are likely to have severe COVID-19 cases. 

As the COVID-19 cases surged in different parts of the countries, a limited number of ventilators, overcrowded ICUs, and short-staffed facilities were some of the serious problems that the healthcare providers had to deal with. By utilizing data from 16 hospitalized patients in Wuhan (China), the researchers identified four biomarkers in the blood test of coronavirus patients who dies vs. who recovered. 

These biomarkers (C-reactive protein, myoglobin, procalcitonin, and cardiac troponin I) can inform about complications that are related to COVID-19, such as lower respiratory tract infection, acute inflammation, and poor cardiovascular health. Using this data, the team built a Machine Learning (ML) model that analyzes the patterns of COVID-19 and forecast its severity through a score ranging from zero to hundred.

2. Predict Impact of Quarantine on COVID-19

Researchers are leveraging machine learning models to determine the effectiveness of the quarantine measures and predict the spread of the virus. 

A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) leveraged ML and neural networks to analyze the impact of quarantine measures. While most of the were predicting this using the SEIR model, wherein people are grouped as susceptible infected, exposed, or recovered. The MIT team improved this model by training a neural network to capture only the number of infected individuals who are under quarantine and are no longer spreading the infection to others. In countries, such as Italy and the United States, the model shows that the effective reproduction of the number of COVID-19 cases remains greater than one, which signifies that the virus continued to spread exponentially. 

3: Identifying Potential COVID-19 Research 

A team from Northwestern University has developed an AI-powered platform that can help in the identification of research that has the potential to produce COVID-19 treatments and solutions. 

Hundreds of scientists all over the world are rigorously conducting research related to coronavirus. This is adding up an immense amount of data to the already existing COVID-19 database, resulting in slowing down the process of identifying the potential treatment or research for the pandemic. 

Scientists and researchers rely on the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Systematizing Confidence in Open Research and Evidence (DARPA SCORE) program to determine the potential research. This program relies upon review and rating that’s submitted by scientific experts. This process takes about 314 days to complete, which is a long waiting time during the pandemic. 

By using the AI-powered tool provided by Northwestern University, the researchers are able to prioritize the research which is going to yield valuable results. The model is as accurate as of the human scoring system and takes up minutes to provide the final score. 

4: Accelerate COVID-19 Detection and Treatment 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, AI technology has the ability to enhance the role of chest imaging and leverage big data to detect and treat COVID-19 patients, as quickly as possible.

According to the team at Johns Hopkins Medicine, chest imaging is not a recommended way for the initial diagnosis of COVID-19. However, considering the scale at which the infection spreads, it calls for dedicated research on diagnostic approaches that are reliable and rapid. Following a data-driven approach to address this pandemic problem can help in the allocation of the right resources in a timely manner. 

Studies suggest that CT findings may help to correlate with the severity of symptoms, illness duration, and sometimes aid in predicting recovery. By using AI and ML learning techniques, the researchers can categorize patients on the basis of severity of infection, allowing them to unveil more infraction about the impact of the virus. 

5: AI and Genomic Software for COVID-19 Researchers

In order to support COVID-19 research, NVIDIA developed AI models, speech recognition, and genomic sequencing software. 

NVIDIA released a set of AI tools that are enabling the researchers to detect and study infected patients through chest CT Scan data. The models leverage data from locations having high rates of COVID-19 infections, including Itlay, Japan, China, and the US. 

Apart from AI tools and models, NVIDIA has made computational genomic software available for researchers that achieved a new speed record by analyzing the whole human genome DNA sequence in under 20-minute. 

6: Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 

A team from Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science is building a knowledge base and risk assessment dashboard by using Machine Language technology. The team is going to build a knowledge base of COVID-19, which can further be utilized for finding correlations between various factors so as to predict the reasons for the spread of the virus. This can help countries in implementing policies to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on public health. 

Using AI for Innovative Healthcare Solutions

With COVID-19 affecting 200+ countries and millions of lives, fighting against it (through ways for detecting, monitoring, and drug discovery) has become a joint effort for healthcare providers and researchers across the world. In the examples above, we have seen some of the innovative ways AI technology is being utilized for the good of the healthcare system. 

At Daffodil, we truly believe in the potential of AI technology. Some of our major AI projects have been helping the oil & gas, finance, beauty, and healthcare industries to make the most of this modern technology. If you have been thinking of utilizing the power of AI in healthcare development solutions, then connect with us. 

Our team of health-tech experts thoroughly analysis your idea, performs research on it, and comes up with the right technology suggestion and roadmap for building the solution. To line up a call with our experts, fill up this form to have a 30-minute free consultation session.

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Archna Oberoi

Written by Archna Oberoi

Content strategist by profession and blogger by passion, Archna is avid about updating herself with the freshest dose of technology and sharing them with the readers. Stay tuned here as she brings some trending stories from the tech-territory of mobile and web.