Not all heroes wear capes or fly. Some are artificially intelligent machines that predict and help determine a vaccine for viruses. With a pandemic on the loose and a global lockdown, ‘technology’ is certainly the unsung hero that is helping us remain connected, informed, work remotely, and practice business activities.
The adversity we are facing today is much more bearable than it was for people during the 19th century’s spanish flu outbreak.
The technology that we have today is an ammunition in its own to counter this pandemic in ways that we never could have fathomed before.
I mean we have apps in the app stores that – using real-time location intelligence and machine learning – predict patterns or locate hotspots of potential new outbreaks. We have intelligent machines to predict and help create a vaccine, and we have drones.
We have more than just telehealth apps. Here’s a rundown of some of the technologies that are helping us counter COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Telehealth apps for remote diagnosis & treatment
Telehealth has been around for ages, however, it only got to demonstrate its power and worth in a trial by fire, that is the COVID 19 pandemic. The adoption may have been sluggish but it happened with a rapid shift, and the curve is only shifting upwards as is the case for many other apps.
Besides, clinical brick-and-mortar medical treatment is rampant with viral exposure and the at-home devices and services currently being used in the U.S. let patients measure plethora of health metrics such as blood pressure and blood sugar multiple times a day, as well as the temperature and the readings are instantaneously saved in the cloud, where the physicians are notified when the readings are unusual.
Telehealth can address a broad array of issues and symptoms. In primary care, patients are treated for benign acute conditions including poison ivy, asthma, back pain, pink eye, rashes, and otitis media.
Remote monitoring of patients in confluence with video visits can also help physicians treat chronic illnesses such as mental health issues, diabetes or congestive heart failure. And as long as no procedure is required, the telehealth can be used to carry out almost any form of office visit follow-up under primary care.
2. 5G for improved the response time with high speed connection
As per a report, 5G enables a continuous remote monitoring and evaluation as well as a diagnosis during patient transfer.
With features such as a high reliability and low latency, a high speed connection, the healthcare system benefited enormously in terms of improved response times, data collection and analytics, patient monitoring, resource allocation as well as remote collaboration.
It also sets a precedent for digitalized, data driven and Cloud-based innovative major public emergency response platforms.
In addition, it is the perfect technology to meet the teleconferencing criteria as it allows medical experts to treat patients without limitations on their physical location and helps enhance the accuracy and efficacy of consultations.
3. Artificial intelligence & Data Science for predicting, diagnosing, & developing vaccine
The World Economic Forum points to the fusion of Big Data and AI as the 4th paradigm of science as well as the fourth industrial revolution.
Infact, scientists and developers are progressively leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, machine-learning, and natural language processing to monitor, predict, and contain coronavirus, as well as acquire a more detailed understanding of the virus.
Virus detection – There are AI and ML tools capable of detecting locations where the virus could likely strike. Health practitioners can formulate ways to combat the future spread of the disease based on the forecasts. It will also allow health care practitioners and institutes to train themselves for medical treatment.
As for the vaccine – According to the technologists, AI can potentially be a game changer. This is to say, AI is taking the lead on developing antibodies and vaccines for covid 19 virus: either built from scratch or by pharmaceutical repurposing.
For instance, Google’s AI business, DeepMind, is using its AlphaFold framework to build structural prototypes of proteins that have been related to the virus in a bid to help the science world understand the virus. Although the findings were not experimentally tested, this constitutes a step in the right direction.
4. Geotracking for patient tracking & virus detection
Geotracking on devices, albeit questionable due to privacy concerns, may also streamline the repetitive process of contact tracking, whereby scientists attempt to actively monitor the location of infected individuals and identify how many others they had direct contact with and who may have been compromised.
This strategy helped recognize many of the encounters of Seoul church members in South Korea who were responsible for establishing the country’s first major cluster of virus. Smartphones can be vital in collecting data on emerging diseases on the ground in countries with less reliable healthcare infrastructures.
These forms of real-time data could potentially give a clear snapshot of where and how fast the disease might spread, deploying health care staff and -equipment where they are most deemed necessary.
After all, it’s all about identifying these cases as soon as possible, mitigating a pandemic’s impact so the health care system isn’t overloaded. Yet it is not just a matter of following the patterns. It is about acting on time to compress the emergence of a contagious disease, and that’s where the message gets – muddier – but nothing the Big Data or Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot offer clarification on.
5. Drones are being used to deliver medical supplies
As COVID-19 restrictions tighten around the world, governments are harnessing the potential of drones. From delivering medical supplies, to helping keep people indoors – drones can do a lot in a pandemic.
Since the outbreak began, China has used drones to deliver medical supplies and food, disinfect villages, and even provide lighting to build a hospital in Wuhan in nine days. Drone medical deliveries have cut transit times, reduced the strain on health personnel and enabled contactless handovers, reducing the risk of infection.
In an attempt to curb coronavirus outbreak, the University of South Australia has collaborated with Draganfly Inc to build pandemic drones that will leverage temperature sensors and computer vision to detect signs of the contagious corona..
These updated drones will be able to track temperature, heart and respiratory rate remotely as well as identify coughing and sneezing at a distance of up to 10 metres. This will allow surveillance of public venues as well as densely populated areas such as airports and healthcare facilities, and provide researchers a precise idea of how prevalent the virus is.
These are just a few instances of how technology is helping us combat the virus. There is certainly way more to it. On a friendly note, while technology is playing its role in helping mankind combat covid 19, we as individuals need to stand together in observing ‘social distancing’ and ‘quarantine’ to make it easier on those on the frontline, risking their lives.
What is CitrusBits doing in response?
We believe apps are playing a very important role in helping mankind survive the Corona outbreak. We are extremely reliant on apps; telehealth apps, teleconferencing apps, meal delivery apps, news and entertainment apps, games, and social media more than ever.
Even the authorities and public health organizations such as WHO, CDC, and hospitals are highly reliant on apps to battle COVID-19 on the front lines of the epidemic.
To support the need for novel solutions, CitrusBits has decided to award grants up to $100,000 for design and development of mobile application projects with high potential for positive social impact.
Fill out the form here if you’ve got a worthy idea brewing!