COVID-19, the name itself manages to send a chill through the spine. Since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, the virus has managed to travel faster than we think and has affected over 100 countries leaving thousands dead and millions vulnerable to the infection.
This unanticipated disaster that now has the face of a global calamity has exposed human fragility to high risk, and China, where the virus originated, has been the worst hit. However, to fight this crisis effectively, China is deploying the latest technology to mitigate the risk and contain the spread of the virus.
Well, this indeed is not an easy job. But China has initiated its response to combat the deadly virus in multiple ways. Right from deploying the best of doctors, nurses, hospitals, research teams, scientists, and more, it is relying on technology to help contain the virus.
Counting on its robust technology setup, China is making use of technologies, such as AI, data science, and technology, to track and combat the virus. In sync with tech leaders such as Alibaba, Huawei, Baidu, and several others in the tech spectrum, the country has been able to accelerate healthcare initiatives at the time of the epidemic.
Additionally, several start-ups are working tirelessly with clinicians, government entities, and academics around the world, intending to develop solutions that can help alleviate the destruction.
Here are seven ways how technology is helping the world deal with the containment of the deadly coronavirus:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify, track, and project outbreaks
The better the virus is tracked, the easier it will get to fight it. I am sure most of us agree with this simple theory. However, by analyzing news reports, information from social media platforms, and government documents, AI (artificial intelligence) can be used at its best to detect an epidemic.
BlueDot, a Canadian start-up that focuses on tracking infectious disease risk by deploying AI, was the one to warn about this outbreak even before the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued it in their public warnings.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) to aid diagnosis of the virus
Infervision, an AI company, has launched an AI solution that helps healthcare workers identify and examine the disease efficiently. During such a panic situation, when the imaging departments are loaded with additional work due to the outbreak, this solution by Infervision helps improve the CT diagnosis speed.
You would be surprised to know that Alibaba has also created an AI-powered diagnosis system that is claimed to be 96.6% accurate and can diagnose the virus in seconds.
3. Drones to deliver medical supplies
One of the fastest ways to get medical supplies where there is need can be fulfilled with the help of drones. Terra Drone is deploying unmanned aerial drones to transport medical samples of people who are under quarantine. Additionally, drones are also being used to patrol public spaces to keep a check on non-compliance to quarantine mandates and for thermal imaging.
4. Develop drugs
During any case of an epidemic, decoding the virus is the essential step that can lead to the invention of further treatment.
Google’s DeepMind division has been successful in understanding the protein that makes up the virus using AI algorithms and has published the findings to help researchers and scientists work on and develop treatments.
Similarly, BenevolentAI has been deploying AI to develop drugs that can help the world combat coronavirus, which has made all of us vulnerable to high health risks. And this is the first time the company has focused its efforts to create a product on an infectious disease.
Another piece of interesting information here is that just within weeks of the outbreak, BenevolentAI had made use of predictive analysis to propose the use of existing drugs that might be useful.
5. Artificial Intelligence to identify non-compliance and infected individuals
This might be categorized as a controversial use of technology. But due to the rising instances and gravity of the issue, China has made use of its sophisticated surveillance system. It has been using facial recognition and temperature detection technology by SenseTime to detect individuals with fever and the ones who are more prone or expected to contract the virus.
6. Supercomputers at work for a coronavirus vaccine
The coronavirus vaccine is the most awaited by the entire world. Cloud computing and supercomputers by tech giants such as DiDi, Huawei, and Tencent are tirelessly used by researchers to accelerate the process of developing a cure for the deadly virus.
7. Chatbots to share information
Sharing right and valuable information during such situations can actually make a difference. Tencent that operates WeChat has helped people access free online health consultation services through it. Chatbots have also played an active role in sharing information with the travel and tourism sector to keep travelers up to date about the latest travel restrictions, procedures, and disruptions.
As the coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire world together as one family, every nation is putting its resources to work to find a concrete solution to combat the pandemic. Technology, on the other hand, is helping humans in several ways. Many countries around the world are making use of the best of their technological setup and skillset to create products that support the society to deal with the world health emergency effectively.