The role of Artificial Intelligence in the fight against Covid-19

Published Aug 6, 2020


DURBAN - About 19 million people around the world have tested positive for Covid-19 and over 700, 000 have died. The pandemic has disrupted how people live, although very few and far between there have been some positives that have been brought about by the virus.

The advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the way medical care has been provided in an unprecedented manner. The has been a rise in telehealth where patients have been able to

get access to their doctors, even mental-health therapists online.

In Brazil, a country with the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, doctors are using a system called RadVid-19 to detect infections. The system, which is developed using algorithms, helps doctors decide the right course of treatment for their patients. It analyzes chest X-rays and CT scans to find spots on patients' lungs that are likely markers of infection by the new coronavirus.

According to CB Insights report, due to Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 500 AI startups globally were able to raise venture funds of $8.4 billion alone by the first quarter of 2020. It is predicted that the integration of AI technology into the healthcare industry can generate revenue increase by almost nine times.

Meanwhile, Tshilidzi Marwala, a professor and the vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, said while the importance of AI solutions is apparent, we cannot ignore many of the warranted fears that accompany AI.

“Currently, the AI landscape is uneven, with high concentrations of intellectual property and companies in the developed parts of the world. This presents a regulatory challenge because AI companies operate globally,” he said.

Rwanda has installed a series of robots in an effort to minimise the risk of medical staff catching coronavirus. The robots carry out simple tasks, like checking temperatures and monitoring patients, thus reducing human exposure to the disease. The robots were donated by the United Nations Development Programme.

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