Scientists use artificial intelligence to fight the corona virus
Scientists use artificial intelligence to fight the corona virus

Worldwide anxiety and fear has exacerbated the spread of this virus, which belongs to the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) family in China, has killed more than 17 people so far, and the number of cases has decreased by a few days. Ten to hundreds. In addition to the rapid expansion of new areas. But does artificial intelligence help solve this virus?

On January 9, the World Health Organization announced an outbreak of influenza-like illness in China. A number of cases of pneumonia have been reported in Wuhan, China. The epidemic was associated with an in-house seafood market in Wuhan, central China, but also in other markets soon. The two countries also witnessed cases: Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the United States and France, and new infections occurred in new countries.

Therefore, scientists use an artificial intelligence-based algorithm (BlueDot) to predict the spread of the virus, as the algorithm can follow reports in almost all languages ​​and networks related to animal and plant diseases and can issue formal warnings to reduce the risk of region transmission - to avoid the virus.

Speed ​​is important for the epidemic to spread, but the Chinese authorities have little experience sharing information about disease, air pollution, or natural disasters. Since the epidemic is in China, WHO officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must rely on these officials to track the spread of the disease, and the use of artificial intelligence can be the fastest solution.

“We know we can't rely on government information in time, so we track the development of unusual events in small forums or blogs,” said BlueDot founder and CEO Kamran Khan.

Khan added: "The BlueDot algorithm does not use social media posts to predict because the data is very unclear. However, one trick is to access global airline ticket data to help predict where and when the data is the affected population.

In fact, I expected the virus to spread from Wuhan to Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo in the days after its debut.

Scientists use artificial intelligence to fight the corona virus
Scientists use artificial intelligence to fight the corona virus

During the SARS epidemic in 2003, Khan worked as an infectious disease specialist at the Toronto Hospital, and dreamed of finding a better way to track infectious diseases. When the virus first spread to a province in China and Hong Kong, then to Toronto, 44 ​​people died. "The most advanced methods and technologies are available," Khan said.

After testing several prediction programs, Khan launched BlueDot in 2014 and raised $ 9.4 million. The company currently has 40 physicians and programmers who have developed programs that analyze and monitor diseases that use natural resources. Language processing and machine learning methods to find reports in 65 languages, as well as flight data and animal disease outbreak reports.

Khan believes that once the automated data-filtering process is complete, people make a final analysis and epidemiologists review whether the conclusions are scientifically meaningful. Then they send reports to governments, companies and public health authorities.

BlueDot reports are then sent to public health officials in more than 12 countries, including the United States and Canada, front-line airlines and hospitals that can affect patients.

Some public health experts say that despite months of SARS outbreak in 2003, the Chinese authorities have reacted faster this time.

"The epidemic may be much larger than confirmed by health authorities," said James Lawler, an infectious disease expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The New York Times also reported on Friday that there are about 35 cities in China and about 35 million people have been quarantined. The Wall Street Journal reported that Wuhan hospitals are far from patients and medical supplies such as masks and disinfectants. it's over.

To prevent the spread of the disease, public health officials must quickly report the facts. However, relying on artificial intelligence now can help limit the spread of epidemics.

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