Contributions of AI in Fight Against COVID-19

Original article can be found here (source): Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Contributions of AI in Fight Against COVID-19

by Princess Valdez

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic, affecting 188 countries. As of March 23, there are about 339,710 reported cases worldwide with fatalities now at 14,704. With that volume of cases, how could technology, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI), provide solutions? According to Investopedia, AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. Here are some of its contributions in the fight against COVID-19:

Epidemic Prediction

Digital health company BlueDot devised a disease surveillance analytic program that uses machine learning and natural language processing techniques to analyze data from a multitude of sources including news reports from 65 countries, airline ticketing data, and infectious diseases data. It correctly predicted that the virus would spread from Wuhan City in China to neighboring cities in other countries like Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo in the days after its initial appearance.

On December 31, 2019, BlueDot, sent out a warning to its customers of an outbreak from Wuhan nine days prior to the announcement of the WHO in the appearance of a novel coronavirus.

With the help of AI, we could predict the next outbreak to prevent it from spreading further.


Huawei Cloud in collaboration with Huazhong University of Science & Technology and Lanwon Technology has recently developed and launched an AI-assisted quantitative medical image analysis service to aid in faster COVID-19 diagnosis using CT features. Huawei Cloud took advantage of its leading AI technologies such as computer vision and medical image analysis to produce accurate CT quantification results in a short amount of time. This eases the problem with inadequate imaging doctors that could accurately diagnose COVID-19 and reduce the heavy workload of doctors. In addition, the service capitalized on the powerful computing capability of Huawei Ascend series AI chips to achieve the test result of a patient in a matter of seconds.

In a press release, Huawei said it will provide AI-assisted medical image analysis service to designated hospitals for free, and vowed that it will continue improving its diagnosis assistant system for all lung diseases including pneumonia, lung nodules, and lung cancer for early diagnosis and treatment.

Data Analysis

Recently, a group of tech leaders and researchers including Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health released an AI-enabled database, COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) which aims to provide researchers access to resources relating to coronavirus and how to stop the further spread of the disease.

The database is composed of nearly 30,000 scientific articles. The CORD-19 asks the global machine learning community to help develop text and data mining tools to analyze a ton of datasets on studies related to coronavirus. This effort is expected to greatly aid scientists, researchers, and technologists to extract key information in an immensely large number of scientific papers to quickly come up with relevant studies with data-driven results.

Artificial intelligence has a lot more to offer when it comes to significantly bringing concrete solutions to problems we encounter in this fight against COVID-19. With the rate of growth of reported cases every day, we need AI technology to help us solve the challenges that we face during this crisis.