Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are estimable disciplines nowadays that are helping experts from all around the world to analyze and understand this novel virus. Their applications are currently enabling new findings that are being considered by governments to make better decisions and have a clearer picture of the situation.
However, the use of all these tools also raises an ethic debate regarding the protection of legal rights, as well as data breaches suffered by companies worldwide.
Therefore, how is data science being applied today to stop the spread of the virus?
Big Data Analytics
To mitigate the effects of this COVID-19, data scientists are using data to create predictive models that help in the creation of open sources of information. One of the primary sources is the John Hopkins University, which has been tracking the advance of the virus with all the information that governments are sharing. Although, richer data is still needed to track other sources, such as the need for healthcare supplies e.g. available beds in a hospital.
Most of the countries are now tracing the advance of the Coronavirus throughout the use of mobile applications. For example, China’s model registered and put together all data thanks to the GPS of mobile phones, which allowed the creation of analytic models to predict the most affected neighborhoods, which were isolated afterwards.
On the other hand, Machine Learning applications are generating millions of potential therapeutic antibodies to find new medicines to tackle the virus. These can quickly detect those antibodies with a higher probability of success, making the whole process faster, as laboratory experiments can easily take several years. Some laboratories are developing new technologies that will inform scientists about the molecules that can help in the fight of the virus.
Diagnosing the early stages of the virus have experienced a boost due to the utilization of algorithms capable of detecting different patterns:
Early warning systems.
News channels, online content and other sources of information traduced into different languages can be used as new ways to spotting epidemiological patterns. E.g. World Health Organization Early Warning System.
Spotting virus transmission chains.
AI has shown its potential to quickly update and share all health data, creating interactive dashboards and spotting new infection and recovery cases.
Some institutions have also applied AI to images and symptom data in order to early diagnose new COVID-19 cases, which is key when limiting contagion.
AI innovations are being applied to experiment on prospect solutions applications with a protein. Some tech companies are implementing their algorithms to help scientists understand the composition of this protein, whose process would rather be time and resource consuming. On the other hand, another application of Artificial Intelligence that is gaining popularity nowadays is the use of drones to transport and deliver medicines and other materials to hospitals.
To sum up, data science has proved once again to be an estimable resource to trace, detect and monitor the novel Coronavirus. In every country around the globe, health institutions and governments are currently using all these applications, which are helping them to make better decisions and to stop the spread of the virus.