5 Ways Data Science can help fight the Corona Virus

Over the past few months, the new Corona Virus (COVID-19) from China has become the topic of most global news now, present in more than 100 countries ,with over 92 000 reported cases worldwide, with new cases continuously being discovered daily.

 The good news is fact that the lethal rate of the COVID-19 is very low (2% of infected people die) compared to SARS and MERS(60% of infected people die).So far the Corona Virus has claimed more than 4 000 lives.

One of the major problem with the virus is the fact that its ease of transmission is relatively very high. It takes about 15 days for the virus to incubate in its host, meaning that many people who are infected within the 15 days are not yet aware of their infection, and so go around spreading the virus unconsciously.

With such a respiratory disease outbreak, there is an urgent need for global coordination and information exchange in order to help understand, manage and control the epidemic.

And this is where the Data science and AI become the key to help contain, control and solve the epidemic. China is currently a strong hold for technology and AI, but globally the rest of the world (including Africa) could use the applications of the Data Science below to put all hands on deck and we put an end to the COVID-19.Hope we get fast enough to Point 5.

Below are a list of possible solutions Data Science can offer to control the COVID-19

  1. Diagnose of Detect the Virus:

Alibaba, for example, have built and AI-powered diagnosis system which can detect the COVID-19 virus within a few seconds ,with a model accuracy of 96%.Since the virus spreads fast  Data scientists neeed to come up with more advanced diagnosis system, so the hospital can quickly identify a case, quarantine the patient and start treatment immediately. Other temperature detection software “smart helmets”, and other non-traditional forms of measuring temperature should be used to quickly identify suspected cases and continue with further diagnosis. Apps such as Alipay Health Code  use Big Data to identify potential carriers of the virus, and hence classify if people are in the “Red” ,”Yellow” or “green” in terms of the Corona Virus infection.

2. Understand the Virus

Machine learning can used to collect both structured and unstructured data from the news, social media, government reports, etc to be able to understand the development of the virus. With Exploratory Data analysis and other advanced machine learning techniques, key features for the virus will be identified.Principal Componet Analysis (PCA) can be used for dimensionality reduction.

3. Forecast Outbreaks and Trends

The next logical step after understanding the key epidemic and its key features, Data science need to be used to forecast where it would go next.The epidemic would most likely follow an exponential distribution model.Using network analysis and heat maps  to map out the affected areas and the movements and trends,accurate forecasts would be made and corrective actions taken to prevent outbreaks in new localities.

4. Drone deliver medical supply

For areas which have already been put on quarantine or have been heavily hit by the virus,there is a risk for medical personnel each time they go close to the patients.Like in other similar outbreaks,drones and other robotics inventions should be used to deliver medical supplies. Drones can also be equipped with temperature software to track and identify suspected cases.In order to help optimize the supply of medical aid.

5. Developing a Drug

Currently Google’s DeepMind and Benevolent AI are using their AI sytems to understand the proteins of the COVID-19 and propose both existing drugs that can be used immediately, and also are working 24/7 to develop highly efficient drugs that would be used in the near future to put an end to the virus.

Also using distributed systems techniques like as in Big Data and also with fast processing speeds of super computers,AI is currently being used to find a vaccine for the COVID-19.

Therefore there is hope in the near future with Data Science and AI.

Apart from the above 5 applications of AI and Data science, do you think there are other better ways we can win the fight against the COVID-19?

Wish you good data luck!!!

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