“Artificial Intelligence is likely to be either the best or worst thing to happen to humanity” – Stephen Hawking
The escalation in the amount of data and complexity in healthcare has resulted in the application of Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) within the field. AI and the correlated technologies were prevalent in corporate society, and are witnessing an upsurge in healthcare. These technologies have eased many aspects of patient care, as well as administrative processes within pharmaceutical organisations. Studies suggest that AI can perform well at key tasks like diagnosing diseases, spotting malignant tumours and guiding researchers in how to construct cohorts for costly clinical trials. In this worldwide surreal battle of COVID 19 pandemic, every ounce of technological innovation harnessed to fight brings us a step closer to overcoming it.
Artificial Intelligence: the door towards vast opportunities
Technology and data are helping us to respond and frame strategies for overcoming the current pandemic. It is assisting the fight in various dimensions. AI and correlated techs are helping the world come up with smarter ways to deal with the disease.
- Detecting outbreaks, tracing contacts, and framing responses.
The AI-automated HealthMap system at Boston Children’s Hospital first alerted the world about the novel coronavirus on December 30, 2019. These AI-enabled early warning systems use natural language processing to scan media, articles, and government reports for signs of emerging pandemics to help inform governments. AI-assisted analysis helped elucidate transmission pathways, identify and trace contacts. AI mapping tools can also track hospital bed capacity and location, numbers of ventilated patients. At the front line, autonomous AI robots can transport drugs around the hospital and disinfect patients and hospital areas by emitting UV light.
- Effective diagnosis and screening
Data from the phone are used to accumulate information on travel history and symptoms, the sensors embedded within smartphones are used to detect COVID-19. Neural networks distinguish AI-powered thermal-scanning face cameras, capable of screening up to 200 people per minute. Applying NLP, a multilingual version of a Coronavirus chatbot is developed which helps in diagnosing symptoms and monitoring on the people using it which returns information that helps in judging individuals if they need hospital screening or self-isolation at their homes. Patients can be monitored remotely at home where AI-assisted analysis alerts about their health status. AI quantitative analysis aids in speeding up the treatment modalities.
- Developing potential treatments and research for vaccines
There are no existing treatments for COVID-19, Deep learning-based algorithms have helped in designing six new molecules that could halt SARS-CoV-2 replication and identify 10 promising agents from among 4,895 drugs. Algorithms using NLP applied to the PubMed database have identified a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibitor (CVL218) as a potential candidate for treating patients with COVID. This is currently undergoing clinical testing.
In expediting vaccine development, a deep learning system predicted targetable protein structures of SARS-CoV-2 within weeks, using traditional experimental approaches for same would have taken months. AI has identified viral protein epitopes most likely to be immunogenic, but not cross-reacting with human proteins while a reverse vaccinology tool integrated with ML has identified genes that code for potential epitopes.
The ubiquity of AI
To avoid any disruption to the food supply chain food processors, governments need to understand the current state of agriculture, AI-driven crop-monitoring provides resilience and certainty to supply chains. The platform deploys custom machine learning models to accumulate imagery from multiple satellites which ensues real-time assessment of agricultural conditions.
The impact of AI/ML is such that it can change almost every aspect of the organization’s function in any given speciality. It includes estimating manpower, minimizing timelines, eliminating repetitive tasks, enabling in data-driven planning, better employee experiences, and assisting in performance reviews and also aiding in automation for training and development.
The widening application of AI technologies in healthcare and other organizations to address COVID-19 is inspiring. AI systems will augment human efforts to care for patients. Al along with the collaboration of the best scientific minds around the world will be most efficacious in controlling, identifying and monitoring COVID-19 and any other such pandemic disease in the future. It will certainly improve the quality of life for millions of patients around the world.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy on building the new.”