7 May 2020

Using artificial intelligence to tackle epidemics: The Covid-19 model

Leading experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) discussed the potential of Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, and other technologies at a ground-breaking online event organized by TRENDS Research & Advisory on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. It was part of a series of events organized by the research center to analyze the impact of Covid-19 on various spheres of the global economy. The E-Discussion – live-streamed on TRENDS YouTube channel – brought together leading experts from around the world who examined the prospects of using AI in research and treatment by helping identify vaccines, developing Machine Learning (ML), and assisting diagnostics through the use of bots and decision-tree models.

Dr. Munier Nazzal, Professor of Surgery at the University of Toledo, Ohio, USA, noted that specialist AI centers in the US and Canada were among the first to predict the virulence and spread of Covid-19. Commenting on the potential for the development of a vaccine to combat the virus, Dr. Nazzal said: “AI can help with vaccine development by examining the virus’s components. This can aid specialists by speeding up the research processes enabling them to gain a basic understanding and develop treatments that can be subject to pre-clinical trials.” Dr. Khalid Al-Kofahi, the Head of Research and Development at the Center for AI and Cognitive Computing, Thomson Reuters, Canada, moderated the session and delivered welcoming remarks.

Konrad Karcz, Professor of Medicine and Head of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Ludwig Maximilian University Clinic in Germany, spoke about the potential for chatbots to measure body temperature and other medical indicators in patients. He said that information from AI screening could help identify ailments more quickly in airports, railway stations, public administration buildings, and factories. “In Germany, large-scale data collection CT-based on deep learning has already yielded promising results. AI and ML could help us with the Covid-19 outbreak and deal with future pandemics,” Professor Karcz said.

Dr. Sapan S. Desai, Chief Executive Officer of the Surgisphere Corporation in the USA, explained that his company offered a real-time global research network that worked with over 1,200 healthcare partners to improve the quality of clinical research and improve the health of patients worldwide. “The transformative potential of AI was illustrated by the company’s collection of data on 86,000 Covid-19 cases which was used to model outcomes that suggested healthcare resources would be severely strained,” he said.

Dr. Eng. Bartlomiej Stanczyk, Robotics Engineer with ACCREA Engineering in Germany, explained that robots have a vast range of healthcare-related uses, such as disinfection of inaccessible areas in hospitals. He said that robots could also be used in close proximity to humans by installing a sense of touch based on force sensors. Dr. Stanczyk noted that robots could help doctors keep a safe distance from the patient by using probes and other remote medical equipment. “We aim to build a completely autonomous diagnostician through robotics, thus enabling the transfer of the skill from the human doctor on the machine carrying out the treatment,” he said.

E-Discussion proceedings

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