Artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing our world in ways that were unimaginable less than five years ago. From manufacturing to eCommerce and from self-driving cars to healthcare, AI is reshaping our world by assisting and automating several time-taking and repetitive tasks with high precision and minimum margin of error. Healthcare is a sector which is undergoing vast transformation and is believed to be a major adopter of artificial intelligence in the coming years.
The uncontrollable spread of the novel Coronavirus has baffled scientists all over the world. The most advanced healthcare systems and powerful economies have totally collapsed against the COVID-19 pandemic. The world simply wasn’t prepared for an outbreak of this magnitude and has succumbed to the disease. Desperate times call for desperate measures and while governments all across the world have implemented strict social distancing and lockdowns, scientists on the other hand are trying their best to find a cure to curb this mayhem that has badly sabotaged routine life. Scientists in Australia are working their way to adapt a technology originally developed for the detection of breast cancer, to be used for the early diagnosis of Coronavirus in suspected cases.
DetectED-X, the startup behind this revolutionary idea has been affiliated with the University of Sydney. They believe that the technology that is being successfully used for breast cancer detection can also be modified to detect COVID-19 by analyzing lung scans of COVID-19 patients from the most hit countries such as China, Italy, Iran and now USA. A top official has said that the modified technology will help healthcare workers reading lung scans to have analysis reviewed for correctness immediately. The system will also recheck if the reviewer has made any mistake.
The most exceptional feature of this AI based system is that it will enable healthcare workers who don’t have any expertise in reading lung CT scans to get familiar with what they should be looking for in a COVID-19 patient. This would definitely help healthcare volunteers in makeshift facilities in remote areas and in countries with poor healthcare systems. The only thing required is to train the staff to use the technology in the right manner and gradually their performance and ability to diagnose will improve.
Moreover, the company aims to distribute the AI based diagnosis of COVID-19 absolutely free of cost to any medical facility around the world. With instant feedback and diagnosis, it is assumed that death rate can be lowered down due to COVID-19. Since patients do not immediately show symptoms and can appear perfectly healthy for up weeks, it is crucial to diagnose the disease as early as possible. Early detection may have a significant impact to lower down the demand and costs related to the manufacturing of ventilators.
How soon the technology will be made available in Australia and to the world is yet to be known. As the company began working on the technology only a month ago it may take a while to make it available to the rest of the world. Until that time we can only hope that a vaccine is developed and practice social distancing and only leave our homes for matters related to our survival.