How AI Can Help In Fighting COVID-19 To manage the pandemic, hospitals are looking forward to automated tools to the hilt. Healthcare experts are using AI to triage COVID-19 patients

By Santhosh Reddy

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The novel coronavirus outbreak has engulfed millions across the globe. As fatalities continue to rise unabated, government and healthcare agencies are looking forward to leveraging emerging technologies to combat the virus and contain its spread. Researches, experts are looking to use artificial intelligence (AI) to address numerous challenges posed by the pandemic.

Healthcare infrastructure of countries is being put to the test by the sheer number of COVID cases. On May 10, the World Health Organization (WHO) has put 3,917,366 confirmed cases spanning across 215 countries. Prioritizing patients with co-morbidities and critical illnesses is of paramount importance. Hospitals are overwhelmed by patient loads. To manage the pandemic, hospitals are looking forward to automated tools to the hilt. Healthcare experts are using AI to triage COVID-19 patients.

Radiologists at the UK's National Health Service (NHS) are using AI-based tools to examine X-ray reports of COVID patients. Initially, the wait time was more than five hours for specialists to have a look at X-ray reports. AI-based tools can dramatically reduce the wait time thereby empowering the specialist to take inputs from AI-based reading and base her diagnosis on those readings. Radiology research images have often pointed towards lung abnormalities related to viral pneumonia. PCR test results are time-consuming. Therefore, chest X-ray reports are gaining acceptance as one of the quickest ways for healthcare professionals to triage patients. Healthcare facilities are now using AI extensively to manage the COVID pandemic.

Artificial intelligence is coming across as one of the decisive technologies to equip and empower healthcare professionals in combating the spread of COVID and other pandemics. There is an urgent need for techniques which can expedite the decision-making process to manage the spread of the virus and action on real-time insights. AI is playing a crucial role in shaping the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. For proper screening, analysis, tracking and prediction of COVID patients, artificial intelligence is being used at scale for various applications related to recovery and morbidity counts.

Various research projects are using AI-driven tools to come up with the right pharmaceutical drug, which can potentially work against the virus. Molecular set up of different pharmaceutical ingredients is being studied with the help of artificial intelligence to identify drugs which can enhance the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients.

It goes without saying that AI is helping tremendously in winning the battle against the pandemic. It's important to highlight the need to search and identify unique, innovative ways in which AI can be applied to pandemics. The successful implementation of artificial intelligence is dependent upon the knowledge and creativity of humans who are deploying it to solve healthcare problems. The value of AI and its application in unprecedented times like today is the function of human input which goes into its design process. To realize the full potential of AI, it's essential to marry innovation and human action together so that we can win the war against this pandemic.

Santhosh Reddy

Co-founder & VP-Technology, ShakeDeal

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