The grave situation of Covid-19 just doesn’t display the dismay and horrifying nature of the virus but also puts up a relevant question how has advanced technology been a shield against these effects? When tons of data accumulated for months are put under the microscope to help the global population, it is not just a matter of accuracy but also efficiency. Here technologies such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning etc., are being deployed to save humankind. While it initiated with the use of AI to have a check upon the spread of the virus to control the number of positive cases, it later spread out to vaccine development and distribution.
At present, AI, along with other digital tools are being used to oversee complex supply chains for vaccination, and also collect massive amount of data to track any severe symptoms that can affect individuals after one has received it.
Vaccine development is a time consuming and laborious process. It takes years to develop a vaccine that has managed to pass all the tests and trials. However, with advances in computing and artificial intelligence, machine learning, genome sequencing, systems biology, modelling, and bioinformatics, the world has witnessed rapid vaccine development for countries.
Researchers belonging to the department of immunology and machine learning have been occupied studying and modelling various properties of viruses. One major characteristic is to know how antibodies can target a virus. Artificial intelligence that was once promised to solve complex human problems was put to use in this time of emergency to speed the analysis of vaccines and figure out the best available preventive medical therapy.
AI also helped design a self-learning platform that deals with combining historical clinical and pharma data and providing information in real-time. Research labs are using AI and Machine Learning to predict potential targets. This is a great way to create clusters of people who already are exclusively prone to the virus from the comparatively healthier population. The method is flexible and adaptable to test potential mutations of the virus.
The immediate need to identify the best possible vaccines are also addressed by emerging technologies like AI and Machine Learning which is confirming a big advantage. These machine-learning models can achieve dynamic vaccine design cycles.
How can the USC-developed method counter COVID-19 mutations?
As the virus is seen to mutate in populations around the world, the USC’s AI-assisted method is said to be especially useful. As per engineers, this computer model works uniquely and makes their job efficiently. In this case of SARC – CoV-2, it has the potential to eliminate 95% of the compounds that have possibly treated the pathogen and brings the best options to find potential vaccines.
So how does an AI system help in drug discovery?
AI involves various method domains, such as reasoning, solution search, knowledge representation and other fundamentals of machine learning. So, by utilizes tools and software that can identify patterns, interpret and learn from the previous input data, it makes independent decisions to yield final results. Similarly, AI is being used in the field of drug discovery. Let’s find out various peripherals that are being benefited by Artificial Intelligence.
Use of AI in Exploratory/pre-clinical trials
The initial phase of drug designing involves a tedious filtering process that highlights vaccine candidates based on previously accumulated data. At this instance, researchers used AI to process vast digital libraries of databases with absolute more accuracy than manual processing to finally arrive at potential treatment candidates. AI can also be used in DNA sequencing based on abstract human data, allowing clinicians to conduct exams in genetic matching etc.
AI in Manufacturing and QA
Once the regulatory approval of vaccine products is received, it is time to develop and distribute the drug across a vast stretch of hospitals, diagnostic centres, camps and clinics. This is a rather massive job if taken into serious account and consists of significant operational implications that fall upon the shoulder of the manufacturers. It just doesn’t involve making the products but also rapid decision-making. AI streamlines the whole process by automating many steps that traditionally require human efforts like managing output capacity, the quality of the product, and packaging solutions.
AI in prediction & tracking
AI is lauded for predicting the nature of the virus, its spread and helping to developing early warning systems by drawing information from various social media platforms, official communication calls and news channels. AI has helped systemize the system and deliver useful information about the highly affected regions. There are various AI-based tools and softwares that have been of great use to identify and focus of badly struck regions having an outbreak and helps governing bodies to take precaution at an early stage.
AI in early diagnosis
AI is being used to detect and quantify COVID-19 cases received from chest x-ray and CT scan images. Recently researchers have taken up the initiative and developed a deep learning model called COVID-19 detection neural network (COVNet), that provides insight on the differentiating characteristic of COVID-19 and community-acquired pneumonia. This software displays a 2D and 3D model extracted from chest CT scan. It has been of great use to treat patients differently for medical professionals.
AI in development of therapeutics
AI techniques can leverage traditional technologies. It reduces the time required in developing a drug from bench to the bed by speeding up the entire process. Discovery, Screening and validation processes are some the areas where AI has excelled. AI can also accelerate pace by analyzing useful data for drug repurposing by screening compositions of already approved and validated drugs based on its molecular descriptors and properties.
The continuous effort of each person will be making a great difference in the society today and adopting a pre-approved approach of testing, isolation and contact tracing is the only way to combat COVID-19. It is absolutely necessary to exploit the available knowledge available over the web to gather new information about the virus and be aware of its behaviour in general.
AI is a boon to the world and it doesn’t need a second thought that this technology is saving millions of lives. From tracking the footprint of the virus to early symptom detection, drug discovery to vaccine distribution, Artificial Intelligence has proved to cater to humankind. It’s clear that AI – when deployed responsibly will be able to help is surpass this COVID-19 pandemic. It is only a matter of time when business and organizations that were previously hesitant to adopt AI in the functioning will try to make the best use of it.