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How AI & Datascience Can Combat the Corona Virus

ai coronavirus covid19 datascience Apr 14, 2020


The Corona Virus of 2019 (COVID-19) has been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) which is continuously threatening the lives of people across the globe. It originates from a virus family associated with SARS (virus outbreak in 2003) and the common cold. Originating from Mainland China, the spread is now across 56 plus countries with nearly 90,000 infected people in total.

Clearly, the problem and its consequences need a quick preventive solution. The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization has come up with AI analytics and big data in finding a solution to this problem.

AI and Analytics to the Rescue

Surveillance System – For places like railway station where thousands of people pass by daily, it becomes important to have a track of infected people in order to stop the spread.

An infrared thermometer is used to check the temperature of a person to diagnose for potential infections.

A surveillance solution to this is a screen displaying infrared images of people passing through the gates.

  • As and when a person enters, a number pops up next to their image indicating their body temperature.
  • These thermal scanners are installed at railway stations in major cities of China.
  • It is one of the ways in which Chinese authorities are using AI and big data to combat the deadly virus.

How they Work

Facial Recognition and Real-name system – AI company Megvii reported that they were working on a solution that integrates body detection, face detection, and dual-sensing via infrared cameras and visible light.

  • This proposal comes on top of thermal scanners with the addition of facial recognition.
  • This is to help authorities responsible at airports and train stations to swiftly identify people who are having elevated body temperatures.

Close Contact Detector

There is a mobile app called "Close Contact Detector" which uses personal identification details.

  • Upon entering personal details, users can scan a QR code in order to check whether they have been in close contact with someone who is infected and whether they too are at risk of being infected.
  • Technologically using big data has helped the government effectively forecast the developed solution.

BlueDot Intelligent Systems

BlueDot is an AI-based startup who have built intelligent systems about people to determine the likelihood of any disease getting occurred.

  • Its AI platform is amongst the latest technological advances using data analytics to map and prevent diseases.
  • BlueDot predicted the SARS outbreak which turned out to be true that claimed around 1,000 lives. The Coronavirus outbreak alert in December 2019 is another evidence proving to the powerful nature of AI and analytics technology.
  • BlueDot uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) as a tool to track diseases from across the globe by analyzing different human languages and use the information through them.
A predictive algorithm for outbreak prediction.

Insilico Medicine

Based in Maryland USA, it is a startup focused on disease prevention. Analytics and AI-centric company, currently working on developing a solution that will pre-inform doctors about the fighter molecules capable of fighting against the corona virus.

  • Its AI system has recently analyzed fighter molecules and provided feedback of these molecules for being suited to counter the deadly corona virus.
  • They are currently working on developing a database of molecular information that medical scientists and researchers can use in their tests and projects.
  • This data will help to combat outbreaks such as Corona virus.

GIS Technology

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technology is one important tool used in recognizing and stopping the spread of corona virus.

  • This system has a data analytics dashboard that depicts all the case studies of Corona virus across the world.
  • It uses the information to detect places where people talk and discuss the disease. Hence, making its data gathering critical.
  • Social media is the best platform for data mining in this case where people are continuously talking about their interests and views towards such problems.
  • In accordance with the situation, preventive measures can be drawn with analytics to track the spread of disease.

AI Robots

Several Chinese companies are developing solutions to fight the deadly spread of Corona virus. Many among them have developed automated systems for contactless delivery, contactless ordering, spraying disinfectants, etc.

  • Shenzhen-based Pudu Technology has installed its robots for catering in more than 40 Chinese hospitals for contactless delivery and ordering.
  • Shenzhen-based MicroMultiCopter has supplied for drones in order to transport medical samples and conduct thermal imaging
  • Tech companies are analyzing overall information of passengers passing by with AI robots.
  • These robots remind people to wear a mask and take preventive measures.

Alibaba has also come up with an AI system that is capable of detecting Corona virus in minimal time. They claim to have an accuracy of 96% for this system which is trained in 5000 confirmed test data. Reports say, at least 100 healthcare sector departments will be employing Alibaba’s AI system.

Google’s DeepMind

Google’s UK team recently came up with DeepMind’s deep learning system that helps predict the protein structure of the corona virus. This system is trained on Free modeling technique which is a machine learning algorithm. The system helps study virus patterns and how it works. Google published a post stating: “We emphasize that these structure predictions have not been experimentally verified, but hope they may contribute to the scientific community’s interrogation of how the virus functions and serve as a hypothesis generation platform for future experimental work in developing therapeutics” They also added – “Normally we’d wait to publish this work until it had been peer-reviewed for an academic journal. However, given the potential seriousness and time-sensitivity of the situation, we’re releasing the predicted structures as we have them now, under an open license so that anyone can make use of them”. This open license allows flexibility for any researcher or developer to contribute to the system.


Data Analytics and AI are playing an important role in the outbreak of Corona Virus. The Healthcare sector has come a long way in helping with this epidemic, although the infection is still increasing. WHO reports the situation is stabilizing but more work needs to be done to put an end to the spread of this disease.




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