ISSN 2330-717X

How Can Artificial Intelligence 
(AI) Help Fight The Pandemic? – OpEd


Pandemics, no matter of kind they are, can be deadly for mankind. History is a brim of evidence on how global pandemics in the past have caused mass destruction of life and the economy. Take an example of the novel COVID-19 today for instance. Originating from its epicenter China, the Coronavirus has infected about 12,945,505 souls around the world today causing a staggering 9 weeks lockdown in Italy alone, the longest ever recorded in the world. 

But here’s a thing, as mankind continues to battle the spread of the virus, technology has come up as a surprise package and a worthy solution to fighting the pandemic yet again. Speaking of Artificial Intelligence alone, the technology is steadily gaining prominence and becoming mankind’s ace card in battling the pandemic crisis today. From developing vaccines to tracing the spread of virus or disease, AI has the mass potential not just for the present but also for the future. Here’s a little insight into how AI can potentially save costs in healthcare.

So if you’re wondering about the possible measures of fighting a pandemic and pondering where technology stands in it, here’s our take on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help fight the global pandemic. 

Ways in Which AI Can Help Fight the Pandemic

Take a look at how AI can help curb the spread of the pandemic. 

1. Surveillance Through AI

Surveillance is one of the factors when it comes to fighting a pandemic today. It helps the authorities responsible to detect the people infected and save lives. One such example of such surveillance is the Canadian BlueDot. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, BlueDot has been able to curb the spread of pandemic by tracking, recognizing, and reporting the spread of pandemic much quicker than we normally expect. 

While such is the present forte of AI in fighting the pandemic, the near future would see AI applications analyzing the mixed variables like climate change, family history, food habits, medical history, etc., to come up with a predictive infection rate for each person. In fact, various developers who have recognized the uses of AI in app development have already begun working upon these enhancements with the results set to be achieved sooner than expected.  

2. Use of AI-Powered Chatbots

AI-powered chatbots isn’t a new term in healthcare app development. Over the years, chatbots have boosted customer experience to a new level and that has resulted in major enhancements in business productivity. However, the same chatbots are now providing all the valuable information to users about the pandemic like how it spreads, what are the preventive measures, and so on. Let’s take a few examples of this. 

  • Today, Stallion.AI, a Canadian AI specialist firm has come up with a virtual multilingual AI-powered healthcare assistant that answers all the queries of users about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Users can ask questions related to the spread of the virus, preventive measures, information related to any symptoms, etc. 
  • Likewise, another example is the Aarogya Setu app, an Indian COVID-19 tracker mobile app developed by the National Informatics Centre. The app is powered by Artificial Intelligence and takes a personalized assessment test of every user by asking questions related to any symptoms or travel history of the person. The app has been specially designed to notify a person whenever he/she comes in close range of an infected person. 

Moreover, what is staggering about the app is that right after its launch, it became the fastest app to reach 5 crore downloads, and today, tops the charts with 75 million downloads in no time. 

3. Diagnosis Through Artificial Intelligence

Diagnosis plays an immensely vital role in fighting any pandemic. This not only helps in curbing the spread but also makes early treatment possible. By using Artificial Intelligence, rapid diagnosis is nothing but possible, especially on occasions where medical expertise and facilities fall short, as in the case of COVID-19 where the volume of cases is much higher. 

Take an example of one such technological marvel developed by LinkingMed. The platform allows healthcare experts to diagnose any disease with the help of a mere CT Scan with accuracy as high as 93%. In the case of Coronavirus, the same open-source model is helping in diagnosing pneumonia, by identifying the lesions through CT Scan images. 

4. AI can Enhance Medical Research 

Vaccine, a word that certainly creates a buzz whenever a new pandemic arises. Where traditional research methods of creating a vaccine take not less than 2 years, AI can be a name of the game here as the technology is capable of an antidote within a year. 

In fact, scientists advising the British Government and WHO believe in the case of COVID-19 that the vaccine development process will take at least 12-18 months

Now if that’s the case, the role of AI can be nothing but crucial in the circumstances today, and here’s an example of that. Exscienta, the British startup, came up with a fully utilizable AI-designed antidote earlier this year which took less than a year to develop, much quicker than the traditional vaccine development cycle. 

5. Facial Recognition Through AI

As technology continues to expand by all leaps and bounds, so do the innovative approaches taken by authorities to assess and recognize the people. Besides, when it comes to a pandemic crisis, detecting people with symptoms or even mild fever is the real deal, even in the case of COVID-19 with fever being one of its most prominent symptoms. 

By using AI-powered thermal cameras, assessing the people that pass out on the streets is very much possible. This helps authorities identify the people with raised body temperatures so that they can be quarantined and treated, as in the case of COVID-19 where China, a country where the virus originated used the same cameras to identify the people with fever-like symptoms and treat them. 

In a Nutshell

Artificial Intelligence or AI, has evolved with pace over the years, and its role in industries like manufacturing and healthcare has opened various opportunities for researchers and developers to bring in the necessary enhancements. 

As in the case of pandemics, the above points clearly portray how AI can help curb the spread or diagnose the people affected by it to a great extent. So if you like this article, let us know your thoughts on the surging potential of AI or head over and connect with us on our social media handles. 

*Andrea Laura loves to share informative news or updates on various topics. Her content has been featured on many mainstream sites and blogs.

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