AI, Data Science, and the Novel Coronavirus

ALL articles
By David Tossell
Vice President Travel & Hospitality
AI, Data Science, and the Novel Coronavirus

Technology is playing a major role in combatting the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that was first identified in December 2019. While not doing so in “headline-grabbing” ways, AI and data science are being employed by researchers, public health officials, and first responders. Let’s explore technology’s impact on COVID-19 thus far:

Identifying Potential Outbreak Hotspots

AI, machine learning, GIS, data mining have been used to assist health authorities evaluate the movements of peoples from COVID-19’s “ground zero” in Hubei province. Techniques like analyzing flight information have been key in predicting where COVID-19 may pop-up next. Companies like BlueDot have applied AI to track and anticipate where COVID-19 has a likelihood of occurring in the future based on a variety of data sources / inputs. The data produced from BlueDot has been used to advise public health officials so they can take preventative actions and prepare to focus resources where they will most likely be needed.

Finding A Cure for COVID-19

While there is not yet a specific drug for treating COVID-19, several antiviral drugs used for treating Ebola and HIV have shown promise. Insilico Medicine uses AI for drug discovery and biomarker development. Insilico’s AI-based technology is analyzing COVID-19 at a molecular level and has been providing feedback to researchers regarding the molecules that may have the ability to counter the virus. These types of technologies are among the best hopes for eventually identifying treatments and development of vaccines.

Assessing Individual Risk of Exposure

“Symptom-checker” chatbots have become more commonplace in recent years and they use machine learning to adapt based on new data that is received. The challenge is that new viruses such as COVID-19 need to be trained using the new data that comes in. In the absence of extensive data on COVID-19, symptom checker apps like Your.MD has resorted to decision trees to help the general population assess their risk. As peer-reviewed, scientific literature on COVID-19 is published, the decision trees will likely yield to the more sophisticated approach of the machine learning algorithm.

Tracking Movements of Individuals in High Risk Areas

Everything (and everyone) is watched in China. Online postings in social media, facial recognition in public spaces, online shopping, phone call records, location data, and more are all collected centrally by the Chinese state. While this is no defense for this dystopian surveillance society, the upside during the COVID-19 outbreak is that China has been able to put this data to work. Through the creation of the “Close Contact Detector” app, individuals can look up whether they have come in close contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19. The app will let them know whether they are at heightened risk of having the virus themselves. China has made access to the app widespread by having it included into popular apps such as Alipay, WeChat, and QQ (a China-based chat service).

Sign Up for Updates!

Subscribe now to receive industry-related articles and updates

Choose industries of interest
Thank You for Joining!

You will receive regular updates based on your interests. No spam guaranteed

Add another email address
Read more
Sign Up for Updates!
Choose industries of interest
Thank You for Joining!

You will receive regular updates based on your interests. No spam guaranteed

Add another email address
REGISTER FOR A WEBINAR WEBINAR: The Role of Data Lakes in Modern Data Platforms

Envision practical steps to modernize your data architecture with data lakes. Learn more about cloud data analytics platforms and data lakes.
Register now!

WHEN: April 9, 2020, 12.00-13.00 EDT

We are glad you found us
Please explore our services and find out how we can support your business goals.
Let's Talk