SARS-CoV-2 virus was first identified in December 2019 in China and declared a global pandemic by the WHO on 11 March 2020.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enveloping Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computer Vision applications is there to teach computers to use big data-based models for pattern recognition, explanation and prediction. Application of new technologies like Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence can decisively provide a much improved Healthcare delivery to fight COVID-19 Pandemic. It can help analyse and predict which COVID-19 patients would be affected the most & to what extent, thereby helping medical professionals & doctors on the front lines.
In one such application, AI integrates chest radiological (CT) findings, pathological testing, exposure & travel history and clinical information with symptoms to help diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection at a very early stage. AI / ML models are used to generate the probability of a patient being COVID-19 (+)ve. This makes effective isolation, containment & treatment of a suspected patient and optimal utilization of resources as radiologists with expertise in cardio-thoracic imaging may not be available at every diagnostic centre.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House and a coalition of leading research groups have prepared the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) which is a resource of scholarly articles, including full text about COVID-19 and related corona viruses. This freely available dataset is provided to the global research community to apply recent advances in NLP and other AI techniques, which works in a proficient way to mimic like human intelligence, to generate new insights in support of the ongoing fight against this infectious disease.
Main applications of AI in COVID-19 pandemic
- Early detection, warnings / alerts, diagnosis and prognosis of the infection & thereby prevention of the disease
- Monitoring the treatment and cures
- Data dashboards for tracking and prediction e.g. projection of cases and mortality
- Development of drugs and vaccines
- Social control i.e. contact tracing of the individuals
AI has not yet made an impact, but data scientists have taken up the challenge caused by COVID-19