Artificial Intelligence and its role in COVID-19 Pandemic

Abira Abid
4 min readJun 2, 2020


Artificial intelligence is one of the most innovative technologies of the Modern era. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning are remodeling the health care and medical industry. The term “Artificial intelligence” in the health sector relies on the use of complicated algorithms designed to carry out specific tasks in an automated manner. When scientists, biomedical researchers, and doctors instill this data into the computer, these algorithms configure and find solutions for perplexing medical problems.

AI is becoming a CORE in the medical and research sectors.

In December 2019, a novel type of coronavirus was first detected in China. Sooner this took a form of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, which spread quickly around the globe. WHO raised the “Red flag” and called it a worldwide pandemic. All the scientists and health care professionals are working hard to find out the treatment for this deadly disease. In this situation, artificial intelligence is a powerful tool, is high in demand. The following are the ways that artificial intelligence, big data, and technology are helpful in tackling and combat COVID-19:

1. Drug and vaccine development:

The conventional method for drug discovery is a lengthy and tedious process. AI can make this process swift by figuring out different case scenarios across parameters in seconds. AI is performing two roles in this pursuit:

Firstly, it helps to determine the steller parts of the virus and their correlations in designing drugs. Secondly, it is assisting in the development of a vaccine for Covid-19. In the last few months, medical tech companies like BlueDot, Benevolent AI, and Oxford-based Exscientia are working hard in this regard.

“Our analysis provides the backbone for creating new drug therapies and vaccines as fast as possible.”- Brain Uzzi.

The prestigious companies, including the Allen Institute of AI and Google DeepMind, have fabricated AI tools, and they have shared their data free of cost with the scientific community.

DeepMind reported that it had operated a machine-learning technique known as “Free Modelling” to locate the architect of six proteins, mainly present in coronavirus.

2. Lab testing:

For Covid-19 testing, two types of tests are available:

I. The first type of test recognizes the occurrence of the virus.

II. The second type identifies the antibodies constructed by the immune system of the body because of coronavirus.

The former testing type depends on molecular testing, commonly called PCR (polymerase chain reaction). It gives more authentic results, but it is costly, and one needs sterilized conditions for performing this test. Hence, we need an alternative in current scenarios.

The latter type is effortless and much faster, but it is under formulation yet. It means this type requires some time to be available in the market at a larger scale.

In the current pandemic situation, scientists are using artificial intelligence (AI) to develop an algorithm-based test that can speed COVID-19 testing eightfold and help to locate asymptomatic carriers. These AI-based tests are cost-effective, rapid in action, and give accurate results. One of the biggest Chinese e-commerce companies, Alibaba, has developed an AI-based diagnosis system that claims a 96% accurate diagnosis of the virus in seconds.

3. Rapid research:

With the increase in curvature of the pandemic graph, the volume of medical research papers about Covid-19 has also excited. In this light, it becomes tough for researchers to conclude such massive data. Researchers are seeking aid from AI tools to mine data for insightful conclusions.

The article in Wired said: “The hope is that AI will accelerate insights into the novel coronavirus by finding more subtle connections across more data.”

4. Anti-pathogenic masks:

Some startup companies are aiming to produce face masks that have anti-pathogenic fabric made by using advanced nano-particles.

5. Drone delivery system:

At this time, when most of the countries are in a lockdown situation, and people are enclosed in their homes, drones play an inevitable role in drug and food supply. Terra Drone is performing a range of services from transporting blood samples to the Xinchang disease control centers by using aerial vehicles.

6. Remote monitoring of patients:

CSAIL’s new device, called the Emerald, is developed by MIT professor Dina Katabi. This device measures the pivotal parameters of the corona infected patients, such as breathing patterns, body temperature, and heart rate. This AI-powered device not only do this, but it also keeps the record for sleep pattern and measure movements. This device sends the data to the relevant healthcare professionals via a wireless signal.

In this Covid-19 pandemic time, technology and artificial intelligence are showing a crucial role in helping the societies to deal with the outbreak.



Abira Abid

A Bio-scientist and content creator by profession and passion. I love to connect science, technology, and the arts.