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Infectious Disease
Detection, AI


Artificial Intelligence (AI), during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, helps fight this virus through all processes such as early detection, forecasting the spread, patients monitoring, medical help, notification, etc. Lung CT scan is used to diagnose the extent of COVID-19 infection. The CT scan itself cannot fully prove the infection of COVID-19, but healthcare professionals can analyze the scan to determine the lung damage and disease extent within 15 minutes, and AI can be used to help for analysis.
A research team from Tianjin Medical University Cancer Hospital and other institutions developed an AI-supported assistance system to analyze CT images of COVID-19 patients (reported on 2020.02.18). The researchers computerized CT images of 453 COVID-19 patients to extract COVID-19’s specific graphical features and the accuracy of deep learning performance was 82.9%.

On February 27, a research team from Wenzhou medical university and other institutions developed an AI-system to analyze the COVID-19 general diagnosis index. The AI-system was trained to analyze the CT scans of 32 infected patients and 85 uninfected patients with clinical symptoms (fever, cough, headache, etc.) and resulted in 18 significant features for COVID-19. The researchers concluded that the AI-system will allow a rapid and accurate screening of COVID-19 with the classified features and CT images.

Early Detection and Spread Forecasting of Infectious Disease using AI

AI is also used for early detection and spread forecasting of infectious diseases. AI-based system makes the faster analysis on the further tracking and prediction of how COVID-19 will spread using comprehensive information of medical, geographical, administrative data, news, social network service, etc. than public health surveillance.

BlueDot website

BlueDot, a Canada-based AI startup, had spotted the emerging risk from COVID-19 before the World Health Organization. On Dec 31. 2019, BlueDot picked up on unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China and made a prediction that the Wuhan virus (COVID-19) would spread to Seoul, Tokyo, Hongkong, Macao, etc. Nine days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement of emergence of a novel coronavirus.
BlueDot quantifies the risk of exposure to infectious disease worldwide through analysis of administrative data (population and geographic location), virus characteristics (genome analysis, infection pathway, incubation period), and the spread of other existing infectious diseases and also further analysis with air travel data.

BlueDot has been also used for successful prediction of that Zika virus would spread globally in Jan 2016. The WHO made an announcement of Zika virus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in Feb 2016 and declared the end of the emergency on Nov 2016. BlueDot continuously collected and combined travel surveillance for a further analysis and uncovered an unreported Zika outbreak in Cuba.

Source: Prof. Meeyoung Cha, Data Science, KAIST