How AI is Impacting the Fight Against COVID-19

Data collection is instrumental to business and healthcare growth but can be time-consuming and overwhelming. So how can AI be used to solve this issue and advance the biotech industry? Written by Michael Linguadoca.

AI in the Biotech Industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) has previously held the preconceived notion of being a futuristic and foreign idea, yet the reality is that it plays a fundamental role in advancing technology today. By the end of 2021, 80% of emerging technologies will have AI foundations. Applications of AI in biotech consist of different roles focused on data collection and analysis. Using machine learning, companies can perform hands-off predictive modeling, drug screening, image screening, and analyze vast amounts of data.

AI and COVID-19

The widespread collection and analysis of data are being put to use to help contain the number of global cases and deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The machine learning approach is producing encouraging results in countries like Greece, which are applying new tactics based on data to detect and limit asymptomatic COVID-19 cases within international passengers. Within a project titled “EVA”, (created by a group of scientists from universities across the globe including, the University of Athens, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, and more) the program was able to detect 1.85 times more asymptomatic or infected travelers than conventional surveillance, and those rates increased to two to four times in succeeding months. Using mobile health applications on smart devices and mobile phones, AI machines are able to perform contact tracing and monitoring of sounds (sneezes, coughs, etc.) to analyze potential threats internationally.

AJ Venkatakrishnan and Murali Aravamudan, co-founders of the artificial intelligence start-up, Nference, have taken COVID-19 massive data research to the next level. 10,967 genetic data samples were taken of the novel coronavirus and inputted into the AI machine, producing results of a new virus with a protein that helps the human body regulate salt and fluids. Venkatadrishnan inputted the data with no hypothesis or intention to solve the issue, and AI proved its worth. With millions of gigabytes of data being produced by medical records each day, scientists are working to pair the emerging data with theories on how to ultimately stop the virus.

AI is being tasked with solving the biggest mysteries of COVID-19, including why the disease affects people differently, what makes people “superspreaders”, and smaller questions that leave big holes in ending the pandemic. In a world that seems to never surprise anymore, Artificial Intelligence is the next big innovation that is taking the world by storm faster than anyone could imagine. With thousands of researchers and healthcare workers diligently attacking COVID-19, AI has provided vital aid in detecting authentic solutions to keeping the world safe.

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