The coronavirus has once again affirmed how the world remains ill-prepared in dealing with epidemics. Rising Coronavirus infections, as well as deaths, underscores how even the most powerful nations in the world are helpless. However, the lessons learnt from COVID-19 are sure to shape the way nations prepare themselves for the next epidemic.
Emerging and revolutionary technologies are sure to be at heart, in the fight against the next COVID-19- like outbreak. Artificial Intelligence is one of the technologies that world powers, as well as tech giants, are increasingly turning to, in the race to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below are some of the ways how Artificial Intelligence could help avert the next epidemic
Enhancing Early Detection
When dealing with infectious diseases or epidemics, prevention, surveillance, as well as rapid response, is crucial. Likewise, Artificial Intelligence algorithms will play a key role in the scouring of various news reports as well as online content, all in the effort of recognizing anomalies before they reach epidemic proportions.
The likes of Italy and the USA were caught off-guard by COVID-19, given the lack of sufficient information about COVID-19. That will not be the case when the next outbreak comes calling as the use of AI will allow researchers to study vast chunks of data, with ease, to identify the next coronavirus like outbreaks and mitigate them in advance.
Monitoring social media, as well as online content with the help of AI algorithms, should enhance the detection of early stages of potential outbreaks.
Enhancing Research Operations
Coronavirus has continued to cause havoc in part because even the most advanced nations in the world have struggled to come up with viable treatments, let alone a vaccine. However, with the use of Artificial intelligence and big data analytics, that will not be the case in the future.
Artificial Intelligence promises to play a pivotal role in genome sequencing methods that could help scientists and researchers have a better understanding of viruses. The use of high-resolution computer-generated simulation should help scientists interpret large disease-related data in the future with ease.
Similarly, with the use of Artificial Intelligence, scientists and researchers would be able to come up with measures that would avert the spread of dangerous viruses, as has been the case with COVID-19. A greater understanding of viruses with the help of Artificial Intelligence technologies should enhance preparedness and response to avert outbreaks becoming pandemics.
Enhance Medical Care
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to enhance the provision of medical care, especially when dealing with highly contagious diseases and viruses. A number of healthcare professionals have contracted the deadly coronavirus while in the line of duty. In future Artificial Intelligence could help avert such incidences by lightening the load and ensuring minimal interaction between patients and healthcare professionals.
For instance, there is already an AI-powered system that is making it possible for healthcare facilities to detect fever in visitors with a simple facial scan. Similarly, Artificial Intelligence is already being used in Israel to predict complications such as respiratory failure.
Such systems have reduced patients to doctor’s interactions significantly, consequently minimizing the risk of healthcare professionals contracting dangerous disease, while carrying out diagnostics tests.
The success so far in controlling the spread of the coronavirus can be attributed to, among other things, increased sharing of data. Tech giants of the like of Facebook and Google are playing a pivotal role in helping authorities around the world curb the spread of the dangerous virus.
The tech giants have turned to powerful technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to provide valuable information in the fight against Covid-19. Facebook, for instance, has partnered with researchers to share valuable anonymized data about people’s movement, thus helping predict the potential spread of the virus. Google data mined using artificial intelligence has also helped track infectious diseases in the recent past.
Tech giants are increasingly coming up with AI-powered solutions that are helping people track their health from smartwatches to smartphones. That said, such technologies could play a pivotal role in the future, thus help in curbing the spread of dangerous diseases by enhancing early detection.
Enhance Drug and Vaccine Development
While scientists and researchers appear to be struggling in coming up with a vaccine or a treatment for COVID-19, artificial intelligence could help avert such incidences in the future. Exscienta, a British startup, has already shown that AI can be relied upon in developing novel treatments. The startup has already unveiled an AI- designed drug molecule.
Likewise, Artificial Intelligence could play a pivotal role in the development of antibodies and vaccines to curb the spread of the next COVID-19 like a pandemic. In addition, the technology could help scan existing drugs to see if anyone of them could be repurposed to address the next epidemic. Similarly, the revolutionary technology could help design drugs to fight current as well as future coronavirus like outbreaks.
It goes without saying that Artificial Intelligence has the potential to help tackle the next COVID-19-like outbreak. While the world was caught flat foot with COVID-19, that should not be the case in the future. AI being put to full use should enhance human creativity and ingenuity in the fight against deadly diseases and viruses.