AI-based COVID-19 initiatives in 2021

AI is playing a vital role in exposing the soft white underbelly of COVID-19. This article looks into the COVID-based AI initiatives of 2021.

The way disease outbreaks are detected and handled has altered due to analytics, saving lives. With the recent signs of the third wave of COVID-19 and an upsurge in cases due to the Omicron variant, international organisations and scientists are utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to follow the outbreak in real-time, allowing them to predict where the virus will appear next and design an effective response. In this article, we reflect on the AI-based COVID-19 initiatives of 2021. 

Omnichannel AI Chatbot

Yellow Messenger launched ‘Yellow Messenger Cares’ in 2021, a CSR programme to provide COVID-19 help-related omnichannel chatbots to enterprises. Yellow Messenger is one of the world’s fastest-growing conversational AI systems, providing an AI platform for customers and employees to create immersive conversational experiences. The campaign ‘Yellow Messenger Cares’ was launched to combat the country’s COVID-19 crisis. Any NGO, hospital, support organisation, or corporation, according to sources, can receive an AI chatbot designed by Yellow Messenger to drive crisis operations without any requirements or constraints.

XRay Setu

The immediate increase in COVID-19-positive individuals during the pandemic’s second wave resulted in delayed diagnosis and, as a result, many unnecessary deaths. In addition, the diagnosis was delayed due to India’s large population, scarcity of radiology labs, and skewed radiologist-patient ratio (one radiologist for one lakh people). 

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To address this issue, the AI and Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK) developed Xray Setu, an artificial intelligence-driven chest X-ray interpretation solution for doctors, in conjunction with AI-powered health tech firm NIRAMAI Health Analytix and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Xray Setu was created over the course of 10 months and is simple to use. According to a media report, ARTPARK CEO Umakant Soni stated that the company planned to develop a network of 10,000 doctors who are well-versed in Xray Setu. The company’s goal is to be ready for the third COVID-19 wave by developing solutions that would assist doctors in rural India.

Contributions by IITs

IIT Mandi has launched an AI-powered software that will track persons under home quarantine. In 2021, IIT Mandi created a biometric application driven by artificial intelligence to monitor and reliably determine the identity and whereabouts of the COVID-19 patients who have been confined at home. The AI-based mobile application Lakshman Rekha employs a combination of biometric verification, geofencing, and artificial intelligence to determine whether or not patients have breached their quarantine space.

IIT Bombay has launched a video surveillance AI platform to monitor infractions of social distancing norms remotely. Surakshavyuh was created in 2017 to be used for military surveillance. The product subsequently evolved into enterprise-grade video analytics systems powered by machine learning that can identify unauthorised entrance and loitering, monitor perimeters and track objects, count crowds and recognise faces, and so on. The state-of-the-art video surveillance was created in partnership with SrivisifAI Technologies Pvt Ltd by the National Center of Excellence in Technology (NCETIS) at IITB.

MyGov, the government of India’s citizen engagement portal, leveraged Conversational AI startup to respond in real-time to people’s questions and queries about COVID-19 helplines, volunteering, and donations. The company created an omnichannel virtual assistant powered by AI that operated across all key ‘conversational surfaces,’ including web chat, Google search and maps, and Facebook Messenger. For example, in around 700 towns across India, Google Business Messages (GBM) revealed 11,000 food and night shelter locations. In addition, more than 60 million messages were exchanged in the user messenger conversation.

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In conclusion, COVID-19 has led to an increase in AI-based innovations. Recently, ​​the University of Waterloo researchers and DarwinAI, an alumni-founded startup business, have created a method that employs artificial intelligence (AI) to anticipate the need for ICU admission. The algorithm analysed over 200 clinical data points, including blood test results, vital signs, and medical history. AI can play a vital role in exposing the soft white underbelly of the third wave of COVID-19.

Abhishree Choudhary
Abhishree is a budding tech journalist with a UGD in Political Science. In her free time, Abhishree can be found watching French new wave classic films and playing with dogs.

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