Fighting the Coronavirus and E. Coli with Machine Learning
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When it comes to combating superbugs and viruses, the human raced needs all the help it can get. Artificial Intelligence is being implemented to find treatments to fight bacteria that was formally resistant to all forms of antibiotics. China is also using AI to quickly determine if a person is showing symptoms of the coronavirus, which could be a great win against getting a handle on the respiratory disease.
How Artificial Intelligence Outsmarted the Superbugs
A team of MIT and Harvard researchers have put together a machine learning neural network “and trained it to spot molecules that inhibit the growth of the Escherichia coli bacterium using a dataset of 2,335 molecules for which the antibacterial activity was known – including a library of 300 existing approved antibiotics and 800 natural products from plant, animal and microbial sources.” The team then asked the network to suggest the best ways to combat the bacteria but were different from the usual antibiotics.“This produced a hundred candidates for physical testing and led to one (which they named “halicin” after the HAL 9000 computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey) that was active against a wide spectrum of pathogens – notably including two that are totally resistant to current antibiotics and are therefore a looming nightmare for hospitals worldwide.” This outcome is an extraordinary achievement for modern medicine.
Here’s hoping that the same method can be used towards finding a cure for the coronavirus. Speaking of which…
How China Is Using AI and Big Data to Fight the Coronavirus
The Chinese Government have installed AI operated thermal scanners that automatically show a person’s temperature. The scanners are the newest installations at train stations in the country’s major cities. If it is determined that a person has a fever (one of the first symptoms of the coronavirus), station employees will alert health officials and take the commuter into an isolation room at the train station for monitoring.
Station staff are saying that the technology is a great help, as before the scanners, they were having to manually take each and every commuter’s temperature.
“Now, some companies in China are planning to upgrade the temperature detection system to include facial recognition technology. On February 7, AI company Megvii said it was working on a solution that “integrates body detection, face detection and dual sensing via infrared cameras and visible light” to help staff working at airports and train stations “to swiftly identify people who have elevated body temperatures”.”