Artificial Intelligence, in collaboration with Chest X-rays, helps in identifying the abnormal findings, thus diagnosing the ground glass opacities in the lungs, which is a classic feature of the COVID-19 disease
Before the world was even aware of the threat posed by the corona virus (COVID-19), artificial intelligence (AI) systems had detected the outbreak of an unknown type of pneumonia in the People’s Republic of China. First step towards AI was taken by Warren McCulloch a neurophysicist and a mathematician Walter Pitts. They modelled a simple neural network with electrical circuits and got the results very accurate and derived a remarkable ability of neurons to perceive information from complicated and imprecise data. With the number of COVID-19 cases crossing 18 million mark, the healthcare system across the globe has suffered a major blow against the management of COVID-19. In India, COVID-19 has proved challenging initially for identifying the COVID patients and diagnosing the disease. However, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the past few years has rendered the health line workers and the government for solutions, to stall this roadblock.
Artificial Intelligence uses the technology of powerful algorithms which then processes the data, thus identifying patterns. Thus, for any Artificial Intelligence to be successful, big data is necessary. Across the globe, as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is expensive and time-consuming, Chest X-rays are now used as a standardized procedure for the diagnosis of COVID-19. However, a simple chest X-ray cannot distinguish the disease and the extent of infection affecting the lungs. Artificial Intelligence, in collaboration with Chest X-rays, helps in identifying the abnormal findings, thus diagnosing the ground glass opacities in the lungs, which is a classic feature of the COVID-19 disease.
Deep learning models can help predict old and new drugs or treatments that might treat COVID-19. Several institutions are using AI to identify treatments and develop prototype vaccines. Deep Mind and several other organisations have used deep learning to predict the structure of proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Dedicated platforms or forums allow the consolidation and sharing of multidisciplinary expertise on AI, including internationally. The US government for example has initiated a dialogue with international government science leaders that include using AI to accelerate analysis of corona virus literature made available using the Kaggle platform.
Access to datasets in epidemiology, bioinformatics and molecular modelling is being provided, e.g. through the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge by the US government and partner organisations that makes available over 29000 academic research articles for corona virus and COVID-19.
Computing power for AI is also being made available by technology companies such as IBM, Amazon, Google and Microsoft; individuals donating computer processing power (e.g. Folding@home); and by public-private efforts like the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium and AI for Health. Innovative approaches including prizes, open-source collaborations, and hackathons, are helping accelerate research on AI-driven solutions to the pandemic. For example, the United Kingdom’s “CoronaHack – AI vs. Covid-19” seeks ideas from businesses, data scientists and biomedical researchers on using AI to control and manage the pandemic.
(Author is B. Tech Student, Department of Information Technology, NIT-Srinagar)