COVID-19 & AI Technologies

Coronavirus’s patient 0 in Wuhan remains unknown; however, China reported about the first patient on Dec 31st, 2019, not very long ago, which is why the medical community studies COVID-19 as it goes.

New initiatives are rising intending to utilize AI to fight COVID-19:

Medical teams lack extensive researches and literature, which makes every available data precious.

AI-powered tools are being developed, repurposed, and applied around the globe to collect data, analyze it, and result in pandemic rupture and medical care, speeding up processes that otherwise take years. AI was trained to predict the epidemic course based on 2003 SARS data since the two diseases originate from the same source and have several parallel characters.

Extracting the most accurate and updated data and crosschecking it with the best COVID-19 disrupting drugs helps in providing effective treatments that shorten hospitalization periods and free beds, respirators and medical teams to be used by other critically ill patients.

Some firms, such as “Kahun Harnesses” have launched AI applications based on algorithms that collect information according to recent researches designed to assist medical teams in reaching diagnoses and cures.

The White House, in association with research groups, launched the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), spotted a growing urgency for an ongoing fight against the disease, with hourly to daily articles and researches publication, medical teams cannot keep up with the information.

The CORD-19 is calling developers to offer AI solutions, which will scan all data and extract the most relevant for specific cases providing effective treatments and methods. AI-based automated CT images analysis tools are developed for COVID-19 detection and tracking.

Results show that patient and non-patient CT’s vary and that disease severity can be determined by lung involvement, as shown on the CT scan. Image reading is one of the tasks AI excels in. Therefore, it is put to use where humans’ abilities are less outstanding or quick. Other developers use AI in calculating the odds of people spreading or catching the virus according to population age, behavior, symptoms, medical record, and habits for pandemic management and prevention. This information is crucial in protecting medical teams and civilians, as well as when planning the exit strategy.

Israeli healthcare services – Maccabi uses its winter flu “at-risk population” data of 27 years, as a database for COVID-19 prediction and prevention.

The AI trawls through a vast number of records and spots specific at-risk individuals who might have been, otherwise, missed and infected or given medical support later or even too late.  AI has also been put to use in China, during the COVID-19 crisis, for mental support and suicide prevention, during these difficult times. The Tree Holes Rescue team monitored and analyzed messages posted on Weibo (the Chinese messaging app), and alerted volunteers to reach out to people at risk of committing suicide and act accordingly.

The short response time and analysis period will be as valuable once the pandemic is over. As always, when relating to AI-powered applications, it performs as the perfect assistant and relies on humans to feed in the data, and this is human lives we are dealing with. 


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