In response to infectious diseases that can break out on a large scale, time is a vital factor. The earlier the warnings are issued, the greater the chance of curbing the outbreak of the infectious disease.
However, sources of information from the government as well as international organizations are not always accurate and timely. But a health monitoring platform has found a way to help the world win the race to early warn the corona virus outbreak.
On January 9 of this year, WHO publicly announced the outbreak of flu-like illness in China when a series of pneumonia cases were discovered in Wuhan, but a few days earlier, the Centers for Prevention. and the US Disease Control issued a warning about the disease. However, the message of both organizations came after BlueDot, a Canadian AI-based health monitoring startup that warned of this from December 31.
BlueDot uses machine learning techniques of natural language processing to analyze news reports in 65 different languages worldwide, aviation data, as well as outbreak outbreak reports. on animals.
While artificial intelligence algorithms will be responsible for data screening, the analysis will be performed by humans. Epidemiologists will examine and draw conclusions based on scientific views. Eventually these reports will be sent to corporate clients, including public health officials in many countries, airlines and front-line hospitals, to give early warning of possible outbreaks. outbreak.
According to Kamran Khan, CEO and founder of BlueDot: “We may search for news on possible outbreaks, rumors or on forums or blogs for signs that unusual events are taking place.. ”
However, Mr. Khan also said that his algorithm does not use social media posts because the data is too messy.
Moreover, thanks to access to flight booking data globally, BlueDot can predict where and when infected residents can go. So they correctly predicted that the virus would spread from Wuhan to cities like Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo after it appeared.
Early prediction of corona virus was not the first success of BlueDot. The startup had previously successfully predicted the location of the Zika virus outbreak in South Florida in 2016.
Although more time is needed to assess the success of this BlueDot, public health experts compared to the announcement of the SARS outbreak months after the outbreak in 2002, this time officials. China has responded much faster to corona virus.
Eight cities with about 35 million people in China have been frozen to prevent the spread of the virus during the peak tourist season. According to James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, without early warning, the outbreak could be even more widespread at the time. number of people traveling from China during this period.
Refer to Wired