Since the first report of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, it has spread to at least 100 other countries. When China began to react to the virus, it relied on its solid technological expertise and more particularly on artificial intelligence (AI), data science and new technologies to follow and combat the pandemic.
Meanwhile, technology leaders, including Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei and others, have accelerated their company's health initiatives. These young tech companies are working closely with caregivers, academics and institutions around the world to make the best use of technology, while the virus continues to spread in many other countries.
Here are nine ways in which artificial intelligence, data science and technology are used to manage and combat the coronavirus.
1. AI TO IDENTIFY, TRACK AND PREDICT OUTBREAKS
The better we can track the virus, the better we can fight it. By analyzing newsletters, social networks and government documents, AI can learn to detect an epidemic.
Monitoring the risks of infectious diseases through the use of AI is exactly the service provided by the Canadian startup BlueDot. In fact, BlueDot's AI warned of the threat several days before the World Health Organization issued a public warning.
2. AI TO HELP DIAGNOSE THE VIRUS
Artificial intelligence company Infervision has launched an AI-based solution that helps front-line caregivers effectively detect and monitor the disease. The medical imaging services of health establishments are subject to a workload heavily increased by the virus.
However, this solution improves the speed of diagnosis by CT scan. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has also developed an AI-powered diagnostic system that it says can diagnose the virus in seconds with 96% accuracy.
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3. PROCESS HEALTH CARE CLAIMS
It is not only hospitals or clinics that are overcrowded, but also administrative services that have to cope with the influx of patients. A processing chain platform offered by Ant Financial accelerates the processing of reimbursement requests and reduces the number of face-to-face interactions between patients and hospital staff.
4. DRONES DELIVER MEDICAL SUPPLIES
One of the safest and fastest ways to get medical supplies where they need to go in the event of an epidemic is drone delivery. Terra Drone uses its unmanned aerial vehicles to transport medical samples and quarantine equipment with minimal risk between the Xinchang County Disease Control Center and the People's Hospital. Drones help fight COVID-19 and are used to patrol public spaces, to try to make quarantine better respected.
5. ROBOTS STERILIZE, DELIVER FOOD AND SUPPLIES, AMONG OTHERS.
Robots are obviously not sensitive to the virus, and are therefore deployed to perform many tasks: cleaning, sterilization, delivery of food and medicine to reduce contact between humans.
Blue Ocean Robotics UVD robots use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses autonomously. In China, Pudu Technology has deployed its robots in more than 40 hospitals across the country to assist in catering.
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6. CHATBOTS TO SHARE INFORMATION
Tencent operates WeChat, which provides free online medical consultation services for everyone. Chatbots, already important in many sectors , have also been essential communication tools for companies in the travel and tourism sector in order to keep travelers informed of the latest procedures and disruptions.
7. SUPERCOMPUTERS WORKING ON A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE
Cloud computing resources and supercomputers from several large tech companies like Tencent, DiDi and Huawei are being used by researchers to accelerate the development of a cure or vaccine for the virus. The speed at which these systems can perform calculations and model solutions is much faster than standard computer processing and greatly accelerates research in this area.
In a global pandemic such as COVID-19, technology, artificial intelligence and data science have become essential to help societies cope effectively with the epidemic.