COVID-19 may very well be the biggest struggle mankind has had to endure in recent times. It has been an uphill battle. Far-reaching effects of the pandemic will be felt for years to come as we approach a global recession. However, in the race to combat Coronavirus, we have found a new ally in technology.
Massive amounts of data are being generated and collected to aid scientists and doctors across the globe in the fight against COVID-19. It is a continuous stream. Making sense of it all is where Artificial Intelligence makes its play. Algorithms trained specifically to keep tabs on the spread of the virus are revolutionizing the ways we approach contact tracing. In parts of the world, AI powered surveillance systems are continuously monitoring the population to figure out how the virus is spreading in real-time. Tools like these are making it possible for authorities to take a proactive approach to fight against the pandemic.
Predicting the Spread
In the US, hospitals are using AI as predictive tools to determine which patients are more likely to be in need of respirators. While in places like Panama, AI powered CT chest scans are being used to cut down on the time it takes to diagnose infected patients to minutes instead of hours or days.
Finding the Cure
At the same time, Machine Learning algorithms are crunching through countless amounts of datasets to determine which drugs are most effective when treating patients and most importantly to come up with a vaccine against the Coronavirus. The UK medtech company Exscientia has automated the process of screening more than 15,000 existing drugs against the virus with the help of AI. A feat they hope to accomplish in 12 months. Whereas traditional approaches would have taken 4 to 5 years.
Protect the Medical Workforce | Machines to the Frontline
Experiments are being carried out with robots in the frontlines to reduce the burden on medical workers. These repurposed machines would help us determine the effectiveness of using robots in hospitals and the extent to which they can be used without risking the health of medical workers.
Technology is not just a convenience anymore. It is fast becoming an integral part of our survival as a species. Medtech startups and scientists are pushing the boundaries of how we are using technology to fight against deadly adversaries. Beyond the Coronavirus pandemic, the use of technology is already evolving to battle even deadlier opponents such as AIDS and other terminal illnesses.
Crowdsourcing Strategies for Prevention, Education and Eradication
Source: Bloomberg Cities | Medium
The effectiveness of controlling the spread of the virus lies in making proactive decisions with the aid of meaningful data. For an example, the success of our current contact tracing efforts depends heavily on the quality and the accuracy of the data that is being used. As a company, we believe in the power of crowdsourcing when it comes to collecting such meaningful data. With the help of mobile apps, biometric devices and wearable healthcare devices we would be able to build that robust, secure and controlled data infrastructure. For example, it would be possible to allow the public to provide information on large crowd gatherings and communities that are lenient on health practices such as wearing masks and hand hygiene, alongside location data through a mobile app. When a sufficient number of people report in, authorities would be able to act on it. Furthermore, such an infrastructure would help us to keep the community engaged and informed, for even greater control over the spread of the virus.
MedTech is an Answer to Getting Back to Work!
Imagine a future where a mobile app on your phone alerting you in real-time if it’s safe to enter a crowded area. The connected digital thermometer on your smartwatch taking constant measurements to track temperature spikes. Biometric scanners at every building you enter for better contact tracing. Answering questions about how you feel on your phone when you wake up. Finally using Machine Learning to crunch through all this data and taking better preventative measurements. That’s our vision for getting back to work.