Home Articles How AI is Assisting in Tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic

How AI is Assisting in Tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic


Researchers all over the world are using Artificial Intelligence to assist in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to know more…

Researchers all over the world are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was identified in December 2019 in China and declared a global pandemic by the WHO on 11 March 2020. There are various areas where AI can contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Some of them are early warnings and alerts, tracking and prediction, data dashboards, diagnosis and prognosis, treatments, and cures, and social control.

AI can be used to track (including nowcasting) and to predict how the COVID-19 disease will spread over time and over space. For instance, following a previous pandemic, that of the 2015 Zika-virus, a dynamic neural network was developed to predict its spread. Models such as these will, however, need to be re-trained using data from the COVID-19 pandemic. This seems to be happening now. At Carnegie Mellon University, algorithms trained to predict the seasonal flu, are now be re-trained on new data from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Prediction
According to a recent report, researchers in England and Massachusetts have developed an Artificial Intelligence diagnostic that can predict the likelihood of someone having COVID-19 based on symptoms. King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and health science company Zoe have developed an AI model that uses data from the COVID Symptom Study app to help predict COVID-19 infection. It compares symptoms and the results of traditional COVID tests to help populations that have limited access to testing.

According to the researchers, more than 3.3 million people around the world have downloaded the app and are reporting daily health status. The researchers have analyzed data from 2.5 million people in the U.S. and the U.K who have regularly been logging their health in the app. About one-third of the people logged COVID-19 related symptoms. Of the one-third, 18,374 have had a coronavirus test and 7,178 tested positive.

Identifying Vulnerable Patients
Last month an experimental Artificial Intelligence tool was developed in helping the fight against COVID-19 by predicting which patients may develop respiratory disease from the Coronavirus. The Artificial Intelligence tool has been shown to accurately predict which patients that have been newly infected with the COVID-19 virus would go on to develop severe respiratory disease. The study, published in the journal Computers, Materials & Continua, was led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, in partnership with Wenzhou Central Hospital and Cangnan People’s Hospital, both in Wenzhou, China. The study has revealed the best indicators of future severity and found that they were not as expected.

For the study, demographic, laboratory, and radiological findings were collected from 53 patients as each tested positive in January 2020 for COVID-19 at the two Chinese hospitals. In a minority of patients, severe symptoms developed with a week, including pneumonia. The researchers wanted to find out whether AI techniques could help to accurately predict which patients with the virus would go on to develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS, the fluid build-up in the lungs that can be fatal in the elderly.


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