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The role of technology in fighting deadly pandemics like coronavirus

India can take a cue from China,which has heavily used technology to fight the deadly coronavirus.

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Every disaster has a lesson for us, and if we do not take lessons from history, history more than often repeats itself. While India has had the experience of handling natural disasters like tsunamis and floods regularly, it has never been exposed to a pandemic like coronavirus. Since the outbreak started, more than 1,25,000 cases have been reported globally.

India can take a cue from China, which has heavily used technology to fight the deadly coronavirus. For example, China is using drones that allow its authorities to scan through large crowds. Drones are equipped with thermal imaging and can quickly detect people who have a fever. Chinese giant, Baidu has developed an AI-powered non-contact infrared sensor system that has been used in places like railway stations to quickly detect a person suspected of a fever.

To ensure that health caretakers are not put at risk, China has also deployed robots and drones to remotely disinfect hospitals and deliver food. In some places, ultraviolet disinfection robots are being deployed by hospitals to kill airborne and surface bacteria viruses. Autonomous or self driving vehicles have also proved to be a big help in helping the fight against coronavirus. In China, a self driving startup called Neolix, has deployed nearly 200 tiny robotic vehicles to deliver medical supplies as well as food to health workers.

In Taiwan, officials have integrated the national health insurance database with its immigration and customs database to quickly identify high risk individuals based on individual doctor visits and travel history. These individuals were also tracked through their mobile phones to ensure that high risk individuals were quarantined at home.

In China, a medical AI firm, inferVISION, has deployed its solution to help imaging departments quickly give a diagnosis. As the outbreak has put severe pressure, the AI solution is helping hospitals with limited medical resources to quickly screen out suspected coronavirus infected patients for further diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, Alibaba has claimed that its new AI algorithm can detect the coronavirus in CT scans with 96 per cent accuracy within just 20 seconds.

Mobile apps have tracking capabilities, and authorities are using it to prevent the spread of the disease. South Korea, for example, which has become one of the countries to be affected the most with more than 6,000 cases, has developed a smartphone app to monitor quarantined citizens. These citizens will be monitored for symptoms and tracked to make sure that they stay at home. In China, citizens can install an app that gives a red, yellow or green code to indicate the level of risk.

In a global pandemic, technology tools are vital weapons for effectively monitoring and controlling disease outbreaks, as humans simply cannot operate and match the scale and speed at what AI powered machines can operate.

Srikanth RP
Editor, Express Computer
[email protected]

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