How AI and ML are helpful in our brawl with COVID-19

mediumThis post was originally published by Prachi Modi at Medium [AI]

Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

If you are living in 2020, I do not need to introduce you to these two terms. These are practically everywhere around you. The apps like email and maps in your phone, vehicle (which I dream of) with auto-pilot, social networking apps that we all spend hours on, the list is endless. However, if you need a formal introduction, here it is. According to Wikipedia-

Artificial intelligence, sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, unlike the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals.

Machine learning is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience. It is seen as a subset of artificial intelligence.

But let me point it out for you, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are not very different from each other. As the definition mentions, Machine Learning is a part of Artificial Intelligence.

Not gonna lie, I am smirking while writing this part. Again, if you are living in 2020, you know what Covid-19 is. We all have that mutual abomination for this deadly disease. Nevertheless, kindly allow me to give you the formal introduction of our antagonist. As stated by WHO

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’
The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

snow covered mountain near lake under blue sky during daytime
Photo by Pascal Brändle on Unsplash

So coming back to our main topic of discussion, how can we confront Covid-19 with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning? The world has witnessed many such outbreaks previously, and technologies have been used to tackle them. Therefore, researchers have been able to use newer technologies to tackle the novel Coronavirus. AI and ML are already effectively been applied in the medical field during this unprecedented time.

A bullet point list would serve the purpose.

  1. Development of the vaccine:

Probably the most awaited thing by mankind. But how AI and ML will help its development you ask? Well, yes it goes without saying that vaccine development is part of the medical area. However, AI and ML have allowed in quicker development of vaccines as compared to the traditional method. Many AI-based companies are using artificial intelligence to develop models that are used to analyze the binding strength of the virus. These models will then further provide necessary information for vaccine research. Previous research includes the development of the HIV virus vaccine, using the same method. A South Korea-based company, Deargen Inc., is one such company that uses AI for developing drugs for many rare diseases. Various stages of clinical trials would hence lead to the evolution of the vaccine.

2. Rapid treatment of the patients:

Meanwhile, the vaccine is undergoing development, quicker treatment of the patients becomes highly imperative. AI is being incorporated with medical science in many countries which are helping in the detection and treatment of infected patients. One such specimen is The European Commission. They are processing the deployment of an AI tool that claims to diagnose a COVID infected patient in less than a minute. In this technique, Computer Tomography or CT Scan uses an AI Algorithm to scan and analyzes the images collected. These images are used by clinicians to thoroughly evaluate so that they can treat the patients and reduce the risk of cross-infection. Eventually, this AI tool will be deployed in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, and many other countries.

3. Reduction in the burden of the hospitals:

Since millions of people all across the world have been caught by the deadly virus and the number is rapidly increasing, the pressure majorly falls on the backs of hospitals and other diagnosis centers. This significantly reduces the diagnosis duration and clinicians are not able to provide sufficient attention to all the patients at once. Moreover, sometimes people just show up in the hospital when they barely have any symptoms of COVID. In such cases, doctors will become unavailable to patients who genuinely need immediate attention. Now, what can be done to avoid this? You must have heard about the various apps that are being used in all countries that help in evaluating symptoms. Like the Aarogya Setu App launched by the Indian Government, which not only allows self-assessment but also lets the user to volunteer in their respective areas. Some countries have also deployed bots that use Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, which are extremely effectual in testing and provide information on self-isolation to people in case they experience minor symptoms.

These are a few applications of AI and ML which, of course, have a wider implementation. They are also being applied in radiology, cancer treatment, modification of clinical trials, and so on. Conclusively, it can be said that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will prove themselves to be paramount technologies in the medical industries.

Spread the word

This post was originally published by Prachi Modi at Medium [AI]

Related posts