1. Health & Lifestyle

How Artificial Intelligence is Helping India Fight against COVID- 19?

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
AI
AI

In the previous couple of years, health care providers have started to see the power of bringing machine learning to their healthcare industry. Now, health related organizations of all sizes are in a scramble to not only reduce bureaucracy but also increase the accuracy of diagnostics and the speed by which patience can be approved for treatment. 

What’s driving the Urgency to Adopt AI? 

Union Budget- 2021 allocated about Rs 64,000 crore to enhance the healthcare infrastructure in the country. Until last year, artificial intelligence accounted for only 1.9 percent of India’s healthcare industry. But now, more than ever, we are facing a dire need for such technology intervention in the country’s health tech ecosystem. Below are some reasons those are driving the urgency to adopt AI: 

  • High Cost Healthcare (particularly diagnostics and drug discovery) 

  • Bureaucratic inefficiencies related to maintaining patient records and approving treatment plans. 

  • Slow clinical trials 

  • Need for greater Physician Training 

Current Scenario of AI in Healthcare:  

Diagnosis: 

  • It seems like every month, researchers are announcing newer ways to use image recognition and deep learning for disease detection. So far, artificial intelligence has been used to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, pneumonia, eye diseases, bacterial meningitis, and lots of others. 

  • In some cases, the RT-PCR tests have failed to identify new COVID mutants leading to diagnostic centres overflowing with people doing chest X-rays and CT scans to confirm the diagnosis.  

  • Recently, DRDO has developed an AI-based intelligent COVID detection application software named ATMAN AI. This intelligent web- based software can classify images under ‘normal’, ‘COVID-19’, and ‘pneumonia’, using chest X-rays. 

  • This application software is powered by a Deep Convolutional Neural Network. It pre- processes the images before passing them to the neural net to take care of the variant illuminations levels of the X-Ray images.  ATMAN AI is often accessed using mobiles, tablets, laptops or computers. DRDO has claimed ATMAN AI had shown an accuracy of 96.73 percent on digital chest X-rays of RT-PCR positive patients.  

  • Apart from that, in April, IIT Kharagpur launched COVIRAP, a diagnostic tech to detect infectious diseases such as COVID-19. As per sources, COVIRAP consists of a pre-programmable control unit, a special detection unit on genomic analysis and a customised smartphone app to display the test findings.

Monitoring: 

  • AI is playing vital role in monitoring also. For instance, Madurai and Telangana are using AI technology to track mask violators. Video analytic software resolve data feeds from CCTVS in public places to identify people violating Health Department protocols.  

  • Glimpse Analytics, a Pune-based startup, has been using AI to alert commercial stores and offices of social distancing violations during the COVID- Pandemic. 

Assistance: 

  • In April 2021, a conversational CX platform Yellow Messenger launched Yellow Messenger Cares to empower medical support groups, hospitals and businesses. 

  • CEO of Yellow Messenger, Raghu Ravinutala said, “If you are a company helping the cause of Covid-19, we want to help you by sharing the load. You could be an NGO, a hospital, an insurance company, or simply a voluntary organisation. All you are required to do is let us know how you are contributing and the kind of chatbot services you need, and we’ll help you launch a chatbot.”  

Information: 

  • Microsoft and Accenture partnered with the Indian Government’s Digital India Corporation to facilitate citizens with MyGov Saathi, an AI-chatbot to provide accurate, useful and latest information related to COVID-19. Saathi synthesizes data and analytics, NLP and conversation AI capabilities to serve up to 50,000 users every day, said Accenture.  

  • Similar to that, Whatsapp-based Introbot provides users with an evolving and verified database of beds, plasma, oxygen cylinders, and other medical leads on request. AI- community manager provides information on more than 300 cities across the country, and has responded to over 5 lakh plus COVID-19 affected families within the first week of its launch.  

Drug Repurposing: 

  • The entire process of drug discovery is not just time-consuming and risky but also very much expensive. So, AI is being used to repurpose drugs to provide a cure for COVID-19. Indo-German organization Innoplexus has been assessing the treating capabilities of Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesiver against COVID-19.  

  • Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, developed an AI model last year for drug repurposing. This AI model computes the similarity between genomic structure of the virus and the chemical structure of the drug. After that, it checks the historical information about the drug’s efficacy on different viruses and identifies the drug that has successfully treated viruses with a similar genomic structure of COVID-19. 

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