China’s AI Machinery Fights War Against Covid-19

As China eases coronavirus lockdown with cases retreating, its investment in AI seems to be paying off. Be it for screening, diagnosis, or developing vaccine or drugs, China’s robust AI machinery has been playing a big role in fighting this outbreak.

Recognising the potential of AI in healthcare, China had developed new capabilities in the last few years. This includes not just AI-focused research, but also advancements in application development like chatbots, and technologies like natural language processing (NLP), data analytics, and deep learning.

While these technologies have been widely leveraged across industries, it is now being deployed as a critical tool as China combats coronavirus.

How AI Is Being Used In Fight Against Coronavirus

With the amount of data that exists around the novel coronavirus, there is a lot of training data available for AI tools to learn quickly. With the number of cases mounting as you read, it is imperative that time-saving solutions are employed.

Be it designing lab tests or interpreting CAT scans or even surveying infected areas, some of these are expounded below:

Lab Tests

After the genome of the coronavirus has been sequenced, the next step is to design a lab test to indicate the presence – or lack of it thereof – of the virus in cells. Alibaba‘s research institute Damo Academy had developed an AI algorithm that could accomplish this in just half an hour.

Cat Scans

CAT scans of lungs can accurately detect if it is infected by the coronavirus or not. Not just for detection, it can also be used to track the progression of affected patients, as well as screen those who need to undergo further testing.

Facial Recognition For Surveillance 

It is well known that China uses surveillance technology and facial recognition to keep a close watch on its population. The same technology is being mounted on drones to survey infected areas.

Chinese Bots

Self-navigating bots have also come in handy when it comes to sanitizing hospital wards, or even checking body temperatures. And not just in hospitals, bots are being also used as delivery mediums to minimize contact between people. 


China has left behind other countries in building a robust AI healthcare system that has been proving critical as it tackles the spread of coronavirus. And it is not just big tech companies like Alibaba that have stepped up in this time of crisis.

Startups like Infervision have also created systems and computing capabilities that have been helpful in combating this outbreak.

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Anu Thomas
Anu is a writer who stews in existential angst and actively seeks what’s broken. Lover of avant-garde films and BoJack Horseman fan theories, she has previously worked for Economic Times. Contact:

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