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How Machine Learning is Key to Fighting COVID-19



When it comes to the fight against COVID-19, the success over failure ultimately comes down to one thing: speed. The faster tests can be conducted, data can be analyzed, and vaccines can be produced, the better the chances for recovery and the less lives are lost.

Responding to the virus requires three things: understanding how the virus is spreading, processing up-to-date information about where it is and what it’s doing, and being able to predict where it might strike next.

Understanding how COVID-19 spreads

Tracking the spread of the virus is difficult because many of the people who carry it are asymptomatic, meaning they will never show symptoms or go to a doctor or likely get tested. This means that relying on testing alone to track the spread of the virus does not provide a complete picture.

By utilizing AI machine learning technology, the algorithm is able to predict the larger possible infections of the virus based on the data being gathered through testing, and simulate many possible scenarios for the spread within just hours of receiving the data. It’s the necessary roadmap that shows scientists a much more complete picture of the enemy that they’re up against.

Processing Current Data and Easing the Burden on Medical Professionals

COVID-19 is a worldwide phenomenon. Which means there is data being gathered all over the globe that needs to be synchronized and analyzed quickly, so that the people on the ground treating patients and developing vaccines have access to the most current and relevant findings.

But interpreting data by hand requires a medical expert to review the information and come to a conclusion based on their scope of knowledge. Scientists and medical professionals need to get results quickly so they can act on them. That’s where machine learning comes in. Utilizing AI, data can be processed, modeled, and reported to practitioners much faster than traditional analysis. It also ensures that the already strained workforce isn’t being further thinned out to analyze data, and can instead focus on the treatment and development work that is so desperately needed.

Predicting What Comes Next

In this battle against the virus, it is not good enough to simply process data to see where the virus has been or where it currently is. To properly prepare and utilize resources to fight it, we need to know where it is going next.

Thankfully, with machine learning technology, which can process data faster than ever before, it can also use that data to build models for where the virus might strike next. Through advanced algorithms, the programs can examine and learn from developing data trends and apply that knowledge towards predictive modeling.

This is crucial to being able to prepare and utilize resources to their maximum potential. With AI, we are able to fight for those few extra steps ahead of the virus, and in the fight against a pandemic that equates to lives saved.

With machine learning, the algorithm can become its own expert, learning and growing as it receives more and more data, creating new predictions into the future that can save lives and reveal previously unknown opportunities to bring the virus into submission.

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