How Artificial Intelligence is accelerating research to treat COVID-19
The World Health Organization announced a pandemic in April 2020. Artificial intelligence technologies have presented effective methods for accelerating research, monitoring spread of infection and to identify effective treatments to fight with the novel coronavirus. Here are the various ways in which artificial intelligence has proved to be effective during this pandemic.
I. Monitoring the Pandemic:
A. Epidemiological patterns: AI tools can help in mining of news and online information to provide early warnings. AI prediction can help project the number of cases likely to occur in a region and help policy makers put the necessary steps in place to avoid likely spread. AI can also be used to predict death rates and identifying factors for increased rate of death in some individuals than others.
B. Early detection: Artificial intelligence models can quickly identify the red flags associated with COVID-19 symptoms. AI-enabled population surveillance allows the monitoring of COVID-19 cases and assess risk as well as contact high risk individuals who have respiratory diseases or comorbidity.
C. Contact Tracing: Tracing contacts by using geolocation data is helping to not only identify infection clusters and hot spots but also to avoid further spread. Moreover, it will also help track reinfections etc. AI-powered dashboards are offering real-time updates on the cases and mortality rates of countries throughout the world.
II. Development of drugs and vaccines:
A. Understanding SARS-CoV-2: Several organizations applied deep learning models to predict the structure of proteins associated with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. This is enabling pharmaceutical companies to develop prototype vaccines as well as to identify new or existing compounds that can present possible use in coronavirus therapy.
B. Research collaboration: Access to AI-enabled dashboards dedicated to research publications and news on coronavirus allow scientists from all over the world to accelerate their research and discovery processes. Faster analysis of datasets in molecular modelling and bioinformatics are helping to accelerate discovery of compounds that can be treated as potential candidates for drugs to cure COVID-19.
C. In-silico modelling: An AI-based approach to drug discovery, in-silico modelling with artificial intelligence technologies narrows down the research of chemical compounds which are predicted to have better results in clinical trials on humans. This accelerates a process that typically takes 4-6 years.
III. Enabling efficiency in healthcare:
A. Faster Diagnosis: AI is also being used for early diagnosis. AI supports the analysis of medical imaging technologies such as CT scan and MRI. This can confirm the diagnosis of patients and provide faster decision making to cut costs and avoid spread.
B. Robotic health aid: Semi-autonomous drones and robots have been deployed in many cities to respond to urgent needs of hospitalization, medication delivery, sterilization etc. Moreover, virtual assistants and chatbots are helping people understand symptoms and severity.
C. Treatment monitoring: Automated monitoring enabled with the use of neural networks helps in proper monitoring of infected people. Faster and efficient monitoring allows health care providers to focus their attention on patients who require the most care.
Artificial intelligence technologies and tools have proved to be highly effective during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Already more than 300 possible therapies (cures/vaccines) are in progress. With efficient use of AI, we will not only be able to fight this pandemic but also avoid future pandemics.