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AI Can Help Us Fight With The Pandemic

Arpatech Apr 01, 2020

Human beings have fought against infectious diseases throughout history. Although we have developed several effective medicines, new viruses continue to threaten us. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of urgency to improve existing approaches to infectious diseases’ prevention and treatment. Fortunately, the AI and data science approaches available today can help us fight infectious diseases in a better way.

The novel coronavirus has spread from its epicenter in China to infect 414,179 people and has caused no less than 18,440 deaths in at least 160 countries over a three-month period from January 2020 to date. According to the Report on the Situation of the World Health Organization (WHO), these estimates are as of 25 March. Accompanying the horrific loss of life caused by the outbreak is the impact on the world economy which has reeled from the pandemic’s consequences.

As research specifics unfold, the data set is rising exponentially, beyond the capacity of human intelligence to handle the pandemic. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is specialized in detecting patterns from big data, and this article will help us understand how it has become one of the ace players of humanity in coping with this crisis. Using China as a particular example-study, the success of China with AI as a crisis management tool shows its effectiveness, and justifies the financial commitment that technology has had to develop in the past few years.


Developments in AI applications like natural language processing, speech recognition, data analytics, machine learning, deep learning and others like chatbots and facial recognition have been used not only for diagnosis, but also for contact tracing and development of vaccines. AI has certainly helped control the COVID-19 pandemic and succeeded mitigate the worst effects.

AI has been implemented so far in a variety of ways and the following are only some of the cases in which the technology has been used as a tool to solve the pandemic:

Predicting an Epidemic

AI algorithms will help with the search through news reports and online content from around the globe, even before it reaches epidemic proportions, helping experts identify anomalies. The corona outbreak itself is a perfect example of AI being applied by researchers to analyze flight traveler data to determine where the novel coronavirus would occur next.

Successful implementation of predictive models will be a major step forward in the struggle to eradicate some of the most infectious diseases from the world. Big data analytics can help decentralize the process and allow timely analysis of widespread data sets produced in real-time by the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices.

Immediate Diagnosis AI 

Instant diagnosis ensures that response measures like quarantine can be easily implemented to prevent further spread of the infection. An obstacle to rapid diagnosis is the relative lack of clinical expertise due to the sheer number of cases required to interpret the diagnostic results.

In the COVID-19 crisis, AI has improved its diagnostic time through technologies such as that built by LinkingMed, a Beijing-based oncology data platform and medical data analysis company. Pneumonia, a common complication of COVID-19 infection, can now be diagnosed with accuracy as high as 92 percent and a recall rate of 97 percent on test data sets from an analysis of a CT scan in less than sixty seconds.

An open-source AI model made this possible by analyzing CT images and not only did it identify lesions but also measured in terms of quantity, volume and proportion. This platform, novel in China, was driven by Paddle Paddle, an open-source deep learning platform to Baidu.

Virtual Healthcare Bots

The number of COVID-19 cases has demonstrated that they will overwhelm healthcare systems and response measures. AI has leveraged its natural language processing capability to develop a multi-lingual virtual healthcare agent that can address COVID-19-related questions, offer accurate information and specific guidelines, prescribe safety strategies, track and control symptoms, and advise individuals about whether they require medical testing or self-isolation.

AI Face Recognition and Fever Detection

Thermal cameras have been used for detection of people with fever for some time now. The technical downside is the need for a human operator. Cameras with multi-sensory AI-based technology have already been used in airports, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

The technology recognizes people with fever automatically and records their movements, identifies their faces and detects whether the person wears a face mask.


As AI rapidly becomes the staple, health care is certainly a field where it can play a significant role in keeping us healthy and safe. And AI Healthcare will continue to provide solutions to any of the arising epidemic.

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