Artificial Intelligence and COVID-19

Original article was published by Priyansh Kedia on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


The Standard detection method of COVID-19 is usually costly and time-consuming, has a low positive rate. It also requires specific equipment and testing kits and also involves a highly skilled medical doctor/consultant. Due to exponential increase in COVID positive cases across the world, most countries are suffering from a lack of testing kits, hospital equipment and have a smaller number of medical professionals. Multiple studies have been done till now on using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning methods for the prediction of COVID-19 positive patients using heterogeneous Electronic Health Record data. AI systems are widely using a daily monitoring report, Radiographic images, physiological parameters to determine the health condition of patients. Using AI and medical diagnostic data of patients can help in rapid detection of COVID-19 and analysis of the severity of infection in patients, without the involvement of any medical expert. It will reduce the burden on the Healthcare system while simultaneously limiting the interaction of healthcare professionals with patients since they too have the highest risk of being infected with the virus.

The manual reading of radiographic images such as CT Scans and X-rays involve a highly skilled medical doctor/consultant and a certain amount of time. But, the use of AI and Machine Learning can analyze a person’s Chest X-ray for COVID infection in just a few seconds without the help of any medical practitioner, proving an opportunity for the remote way of operation. The AI-based system can estimate the risk of disease and pulmonary involvement of COVID-19.

Smart wearable devices and the use of mobile apps can be used to keep the regular track of patients quarantined at home and remotely monitor their health. These smart wearable devices can measure various physiological parameters of a patient’s body such as Heart Rate (HR), Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Cardiovascular Strain, Sleep patterns, Respiratory Monitoring, SpO2 level and body temperature. It will enable the medical staff to continuously check the physiological parameters and determine the condition of patients without coming in any direct contact. These devices will also notify the users of any possibility of infection before any medical symptoms start to appear. These AI-based diagnostic methods will also help the authority to allocate resources judiciously and efficiently, resulting in the proper management of thousands of patients.

AI is being utilized as a powerful tool to understand better the views and sentiments of the population in the ongoing pandemic. Millions of posts and articles from various social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. are gathered and analyzed using AI to track the public behaviour, opinions, and reaction of the population towards lockdown and other quarantine policies. It can help the government to plan and execute other preventive measures and guidelines to help the public deal with the pandemic. The results show that a quick classification of rumours and misinformation on networking sites with factual information can significantly reduce impractical behaviour and thinking among the population.

Scientists and medical practitioners are using AI to work on models for drug discovery and repurposing, development of vaccines and antiviral components, studying about genome structure and sequencing of the virus, Immune system and mechanism of virus and spread of the virus.

Thus, we believe that the extensive use of Artificial intelligence can revolutionize, subsidize, and extend the reach of our ageing healthcare system. Artificial Intelligence can prove to be humanity’s greatest asset in its fight against COVID-19.