This post was written by Vatsal Ghiya, co-founder and chief operating officer of Shaip.
It is hard to imagine fighting a global pandemic without technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The exponential rise of Covid-19 cases around the world left many health infrastructures paralyzed. However, institutions, governments, and organizations were able to fight back with the help of advanced technologies. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, once seen as a luxury for elevated lifestyles and productivity, have become life-saving agents in combating Covid thanks to their innumerable applications.
With allied technologies like Big Data, IoT, and data science, AI offered tools to frontline caregivers and resources to researchers and drug developers. In this post, we explore how AI and ML have helped battle Covid-19 and how they will continue to assist us in recovering from the chaos.
One of the most practical solutions to curb the spread of the virus is through contact tracing. This allows officials and healthcare providers to identify possible victims and carriers they have come in contact with. With this information, they can isolate Covid-positive patients and deliver healthcare solutions.
By coming up with models like SIR (Susceptible, Infectious, and Recovered), caregivers have been able to seamlessly trace contacts, identify vulnerable regions and clusters, announce containment zones, deploy additional healthcare facilities, and more.
In addition to offering prescriptive solutions, AI has also been used to predict positivity and mortality rates, probable mutations of viruses and their reflections on symptoms, and even arrive at dates and times when the contagion will be at its peak. With data-driven statistics and credible AI modules, officials have been able to proactively take measures like announcing lockdowns and shelter in place protocols, procuring vaccines, oxygen cylinders, PPE kits, testing apparatus, and more. This has been of immense help in developing nations with higher population density to stop the spread of the virus, or at least curb the intensity.
Exposing fake news
The circulation of fake news concerning the virus has been a significant challenge.With social media devoid of supervision or any form of moderation, many people (anonymously) took to social media platforms and instant messengers to circulate false information and conspiracy theories.
From posts that claimed how to cure Covid through home remedies to theories about last June’s Great Reset meeting of the World Economic Forum, thousands of unfounded messages and posts have been going viral. This has been increasing anxiety levels and paranoia among a world population that has already faced a high level of stress. However, through moderations and screening, AI has been doing an incredible job at preventing conspiracy theories and fake information from making the rounds.
Healthcare centers and institutions have been overburdened like never before. For more than a year, many frontline workers including doctors, nurses, and paramedics have been overworked beyond their capacity. With every incoming patient requiring immediate attention, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain sufficient focus to treat everyone.
Thankfully, AI systems have come to the rescue with precise diagnostic chatbots. Through tech concepts such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), an organization called Paginemediche rolled out a chatbot that offered a highly accurate diagnosis of Covid-19 through data fed to it by users.
Based on responses to questions, the chatbot retrieved and offered guidelines, diagnosis, and solutions from the most credible resources and suggested if a patient needed to be isolated, seek medical attention. or understand that their infection is a common flu and not Covid-19. This has slowed the flow of patients to hospitals and healthcare centers to a significant extent.
Vaccines typically are developed through extensive, time-consuming rounds of clinical trials. However, with AI and ML, Covid vaccine development moved forward at lightning speeds compared to previous viral outbreaks. Through pattern recognition and simulation, researchers have been able to come up with the most effective formulas of medications to help the body develop antigens and build immunity against the virus.
AI models were effective in the fight
Before the AI models were able to provide accurate results for combating Covid, they went through extensive testing. Covid datasets from multiple resources have all assisted solution providers and development companies to launch reliable Covid-related services. For a healthcare-based AI solution to be precise, healthcare datasets that are fed to it should be airtight.
Also, despite offering such revolutionary apps and solutions, AI models for battling Covd are not universally applicable. Every region of the world is fighting its own version of a mutated virus and a population behavior and immune system specific to that particular geographic location. That’s why there is an inherent need for more AI-driven healthcare solutions to penetrate deeper levels of specific world populations.
Any AI or MLcompany looking to develop a solution and contribute to the fight against the virus should be working with highly accurate medical datasets to ensure optimized results. This is the only they you can offer meaningful services or solutions to society right now. The functionality of your solution is crucial. That’s why we recommend you source your healthcare datasets from the most credible avenues in the market, so you have a fully functional solution to roll out and help those in need.
As co-founder and chief operating officer of Shaip, Vatsal Ghiya has 20-plus years of experience in healthcare software and services. Ghiya also co-founded ezDI, a cloud-based software solution company that provides a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine and a medical knowledge base with products including ezCAC and ezCDI.