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How AI Helps In Early Detection Of Coronavirus Outbreak

How AI Helps In Early Detection Of Coronavirus Outbreak

Sameer Balaganur

Artificial intelligence is still not advanced enough to cure diseases but is very well designed to detect diseases whenever there is an outbreak of a deadly infection like the Coronavirus. Coronavirus, with over 17,205 confirmed infections as of Sunday, has already spread to countries like India. In this kind of outbreak, artificial intelligence can help in spreading awareness with various additional insights. It can also help in assisting the world health leaders by bringing in curated information about the deadly disease.

AI Supporting The Docs

The outbreak of the Coronavirus has been a time-sensitive matter as it became crucial for the researchers and the general public to know the whereabouts of the disease.

During a similar attack in China called SARS, there wasn’t enough data or information, and therefore AI had minimal applications then. But now, with the rising social media wave, the AI algorithm has plenty of information to assist the researchers. AI can take up the massive data present on social media and news sites to generate real-time information for health departments to track the widespread of the virus.



Examples Of AI Applications

Machine learning and AI operations can help world health researchers to compile and filter information about Coronavirus in order to help them make better decisions. 

Public surveillance sites like healthmap.org use AI to analyse the data from social media sites, government sites, news sites and other sources. Healthmap.org, created by Clark Freifeld and John Brownstein — an automated electronic information system for monitoring global disease outbreaks, not only does baseline surveillance using AI but also leverages the ability of AI to identify patterns. So, when the AI system diagnoses a particular group of people with Coronavirus, then AI can use the patient’s information like a zip code in order to identify the area or region from where the virus has erupted or how far the infection can travel.



Another firm Bluedot also specialises in disease surveillance, was one of the first ones to predict the outbreak of Coronavirus. They predicted the outbreak on December 31st using AI-powered system that looks through government documents, online resources, news reports, and animal and plant disease networks to warn clients against the zones pertaining to the virus. The company makes use of machine learning and NLP techniques to create models that process large amounts of data in real-time. Using this type of information, the company was able to correctly predict the spread of the virus to Seoul, Bankok, Taipei and Tokyo.

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Rapid Response With AI

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, China has completely restricted travelling to Wuhan and has also informed people not to move around much in the city. While China is looking for a cure, more precaution must be taken in the correct diagnosis for this kind of disease to prevent the widespread. AI’s timely diagnosis and early detection of the disease can help the doctors in putting these patients into a separate facility for treatment to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. These AI systems can be installed in travel stations and hospital emergency wards for early detection and so that these people do not leave the affected regions of Coronavirus without receiving treatments or proper diagnosis.

Outlook

Artificial Intelligence is already making strides in the field of epidemiology for better surveillance, prediction and controlling of severe disease outbreaks like Coronavirus. With new diseases penetrating the world, more and more data is being created. And, with such massive data in the market, AI models can be trained better. In future, if AI has been augmented correctly into the system, then the possibility of even finding a cure will increase exponentially.

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