How Technology is helping to fight against COVID-19
With the beginning of the new decade, we are hit by Coronavirus (CoV) or COVID-19 that has made the entire world shut down to a grinding halt. COVID-19 are a large family of viruses causing respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe infections like Middle Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).
Common signs of COVID-19 infection include Flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, COVID-19 can lead to a severe acute respiratory syndrome, pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
COVID-19 has gripped countries worldwide, with the number of cases affected by novel coronavirus surpassing 150,000+ infected cases with over 6,500 deaths. COVID-19 has made governments and medical agencies across the globe struggle to control the pandemic, with a hope to contain the number of new infections and isolate those whose symptoms are not as severe but may play a pivotal role in spreading the disease.
The novel coronavirus (nCoV) or COVID-19 outbreak has worst affected China, including Hong Kong and Macau, with over 3000+ deaths. The deadly virus is getting severe in Italy, making it the most affected country in Europe outside Asia. Iran is also among the worst hit in Asia, an epicentre from where the Coronavirus spread to the rest of the world. Iran with over 17,000 confirmed cases has reported 1300+ deaths. Other seriously infected countries include Spain, Germany, South Korea, France and the USA.
As the world comes together to fight the deadly virus, technology-aided by new advancements can help into the prevention and control of the epidemic.
How Can Technology Help?
Technology has played an important role in identifying and containing the epidemic. Internet and tech companies have deployed AI and big data analysis for valuable data extraction which can help to prevent and control the Coronavirus. China has been on the forefront, leaned on its strong technology sector trusting on data science and artificial intelligence (AI) to track and fight the pandemic
Artificial Intelligence can predict the intensity as to where and how quickly the Coronavirus disease might spread by integrating data on travel, population and historical disease data. Artificial Intelligence can quicken the time it takes to develop new treatments and improve the application of current treatment. Radiologists have been using the Artificial Intelligence machine learning systems to make superior treatment decisions based on medical imaging. To help physicians make a faster diagnosis, data from chest X-rays of coronavirus patients can serve as input for the deep learning models.
Developing medicines for these newly discovered viruses is a tedious task, that comes with its trial and error. Artificial Intelligence can help in this process by training deep learning models to examine data from similar viral diseases to predict which types of vaccines and medicines will be most likely effective.
Blockchain can be immensely helpful to help streamline medical supply chains. Assuring transparency, blockchain can ensure that medical specialists and patients have access to all the tools which they need and thereby prevent contaminated items from reaching the stores.
Drones can move faster in crowded, urban megacities to deliver medical essentials to the ones who are quarantined and isolated. Drones can be a critical step to control infections by keeping health workers out of the most affected areas. Drones can also move faster than ambulances in crowded, urban areas.
5G enables remote patient monitoring with a more acute diagnosis. The growing possibilities of telemedicine aided by 5G will be a boom in these times of distress enabling patients to get the care they need, without putting doctors at risk. Remote patient monitoring powered by 5G is already being deployed for diagnosis of Covid-19 in the epicentre of Coronavirus – Wuhan, China.
Artificial Intelligence enabled chatbots are using Natural Language Learning to understand the user intent aiding people with the initial advice to what precautionary measures to take and how they can prevent coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation has stepped up, encouraging the distribution of patient data among the medical practitioners, governments, researchers, and the larger business community to help to control the infection spread.
According to the WHO, this dissemination of vital information will ensure that the virus is known to all powering the masses to join in the COVID-19 fight by adopting best practices.
It was practically impossible to track unknown diseases, a decade ago. Today, with the emergence of AI, deep learning, and data mining, identifying, tracking and containing harmful diseases is quicker more informed.
The bottom line: prevention response time is quicker today.