How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Fight Coronavirus
A global pandemic, no country has been left unscathed by the disaster that is COVID-19. As countries go into lockdown and as death rates sore, the way that we use and rely on technology is changing to meet these unprecedented times.
From the rise of remote working to the increased need for electronic material within our children’s education system, our use of artificial intelligence has also changed.
A vital resource and a valuable tool, when it comes to tackling and helping to predict and prevent future outbreaks of coronavirus, artificial intelligence is playing a key part.
Within this blog, we will discover how artificial intelligence is being used and how globally, we can begin to control this deadly virus through the use of AI.
Previous examples of AI within medicine?
Artificial Intelligence is all around us. From our social media apps to the braking sensors within our cars, we are more familiar with AI than we would have originally thought. The use of AI working to tackle coronavirus is not a new and revolutionary breakthrough. In fact, machine learning has been used within the medical industry for many years.
Helping to pave the way in the latest medical and scientific breakthroughs, artificial intelligence and machine learning has been used to help within drug discovery in being able to review molecules, while in turn helping to speed up the drug creation process.
Along with the valuable addition of being able to help create and develop new drugs, AI has also been incorporated into the medical field in other vital ways.
From helping to assist doctors when treating patients, incorporating artificial intelligence into the industry can save vital funds and resources. This is because AI in the NHS can help to review the data from the patient before working to accurately diagnose the patient’s illness. This allows the patient to quickly receive the right treatment, while allowing the doctor to use their energy to treat and care for other patients at the same time.
Th addition of AI within the medical industry can also be seen in a quicker and more effective transportation of vital medical supplies. Through the addition of artificial intelligence, systems can access the latest up-to date information, while automatically placing orders for medical supplies to be delivered to the hospital. A tiresome and manual task, through incorporating AI into the running and ordering process of vital medicine, it can speed up and minimise the amounts of mistakes being made.
A vital addition that has been heavily welcomed in the medical industry, AI is proving to be beneficial in the fight against coronavirus.
How Artificial Intelligence is helping the fight against COVID-19
The introduction of AI in helping to fight and prevent the further spreading of COVID-19 has been welcomed by the medical industry.
But how is AI and coronavirus being linked together? We aim to look at the many ways that this form of machine learning is being harnessed worldwide in the universal fight of this new strain of virus.
Reviewing the makeup of the Coronavirus virus
One way that AI and coronavirus are being linked together and that is through the ability of artificial intelligence to find and review the makeup of this new virus. By analysing the structure of the virus, the industry can gain a new insight into what they are dealing with, helping to create an effective treatment.
DeepMind, an AI arm within Google’s parent company Alphabet is using AlphaFold, a deep learning library that uses neural networks to review the virus and how the protein structures attack and affect a patient’s cell. Without this virtual information that AI can highlight, it would take much time to determine the best treatment and drugs that can effectively treat the virus.
Finding a cure for the virus
Through the use of AI, artificial intelligence has been able to review and discover the structure of the virus and the different cells that make up COVID-19, now the time has come to find a cure.
With a deeper understanding of how the protein of the virus affects the cells, AI can be used to help to speed up the drug finding process. With treatment trials beginning in the UK, there have been a number of research projects where a treatment that was being developed to fight another disease is being repurposed to help fight Coronavirus. This discovery which drug would be best suited to fight COVID-19 is being tackled through AI.
By using Machine Learning to review the data, the makeup of the virus and compare it to that of other diseases, viruses with similar elements can be highlighted to help work out which drugs would be best suited to protect the wider community and insulate them.
This process can be sped up through the harnessing of masses of data quickly through machine learning, something that is vital in such unprecedented times.
Detecting future Coronavirus outbreaks
Used at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, AI can help detect and predict the next location of a COVID-19 outbreak.
With artificial intelligence first used to tap into the Chinese media reports of a emergence of a new virus, preparing and alerting the world of the upcoming global outbreak.
From there AI was used to help track individuals and their journeys from the centre of the epidemic, Wuhan, to discover which location would be the next hit.
Through the reviewing of flight data, GPS locations for mobile phones, as well as social media activity, researchers could gather a clear understanding of the movements of people and create an accurate map of where potential outbreaks could occur next.
This can be seen with HealthMap collecting and reviewing such data. With the information made publicly available, this information was reviewed at the beginning of the outbreak to discover if there were any links between the disease, certain populations to help contain the virus.
Reviewing the mental health of communities
Keeping the community safe from the virus is paramount and so is maintaining their overall health. To keep communities safe, you have to also review their mental health and how the lockdown is affecting this. This can be discovered through the use of artificial intelligence. Machine learning and AI can be harnessed to review posts published across a range of different social media sites to see the changes in topics throughout this period.
By reviewing the effects of lockdown, but also how people are adapting their lifestyle, we can gather a deeper understanding of the long term effects of this virus to communities. But also how businesses can alter to target these shifting trends.
Highlighting individuals that have had coronavirus
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to COVID-19 and that is that each individual has a different symptom and experiences a different strain to that of another within the community. For those unsure of whether they have been victim to this virus, AI can be used to help highlight if the individual has been exposed to COVID-19.
This can be discovered through the ability of AI to review x-rays for signs of a coronavirus infection. Through the addition of a neural network, we can set a programme so that AI is aware of the signs and images within the chest x-rays and be able to review large sets of data quickly.
This added support offered by AI could prove an extra lifeline to stretched hospitals who do not have the resources or staff to review all x-rays. By discovering which patients have previously experienced coronavirus, they can have a clear understanding of whether to send them home to recover in self-isolation or keep them in hospital.
A useful addition and a valuable tool within the medical and scientific industry, the use of artificial intelligence in the fight against COVID-29 could prove to be an added lifeline.
By giving us a clearer and more in depth image of the genetic makeup of the virus, we can discover and research how best to tackle this new pandemic.
From repurposing of treatments created to cure other viruses with similar traits, we can speed up the process of finding a cure.
One of the biggest advances of machine learning and that is its ever developing skill set that we can use to help predict the next outbreak location, review the changing habits and mental health of a community, while discovering which patients have been exposed to the virus. Vital in the aftercare and cleanup of coronavirus.
Rapidly changing and developing, the way that we use AI to fight COVID-19 will also change, the more we discover about this virus so will the way we treat and attempt to prevent the virus from spreading.
A new and unprecedented experience, how we deal with this pandemic will be reviewed and analysed for years to come, with the use of AI potentially playing a crucial part in the way that we can manage and fight this virus.