Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
Will AI Create the Coronavirus Vaccine?
As the COVID-19 pandemic is shutting down whole countries, a few of you may be wondering whether AI can help create a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. (COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.) After all, AI is magic, right? Or, at least, this is a rather promising and very hot area of applied AI research, with 221 startups reportedly using AI for drug discovery, including several who have either discovered new compounds or created entirely new drugs using AI.
And yes, AI is being used in connection with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2: from understanding the structure of the virus’s spike protein (which attaches to and infects human cells) to genetically sequencing the virus to automating design and testing of virtual molecules with the desired characteristics for the development of a drug to treat it.
AI and machine learning are also being used to:
- Diagnose COVID-19
- Detect people with fever
- Predict the survival of those infected
- Disinfect public spaces
- Track the spread of the virus
- And many other things
Will we see a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine created with the help of AI technologies? It remains to be seen. The challenges do not seem to be with the AI tech, or at least not with the discovery side. Some experts say that the vaccine could be created in a lab in a matter of weeks. The challenge lies with the regulatory and manufacturing side.
First, the vaccine will need to get through clinical trials, which is a long process. Even an accelerated process may take 12 to 18 months to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective.
Also, millions of doses of the vaccine will be needed, and there is currently no established manufacturing process that could be adopted for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine because “there are no vaccines on the market for any coronavirus, not even SARS or MERS … If this were the flu, manufacturing could be more easily spun up because the technology is in place to mass-produce the annual flu vaccine,” reports Consumer HealthDay.
So for now, wash your hands, maintain social distancing, monitor announcements by the health authorities in your area, ensure you have sufficient supplies for a few weeks if you need to stay at home, and don’t panic. We are all likely to get the coronavirus, predicts The Atlantic, but it will not be deadly. (The impact on the economy is entirely another matter, and your analyst wonders about the long term impacts on privacy and human rights as this epidemic has cleared a way for many surveillance technologies.)
For an entertaining and informative take on the coronavirus, watch this episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show. To prepare your business for the pandemic, visit Info-Tech’s COVID-19 Resource Center.
Want to Know More?
Transparency, explainability, and trust are pressing topics in AI/ML today. While much has been written about why these are important and what organizations should do, no tools to help implement these principles have existed – until now.
Recently I attended the inaugural Emotion AI conference, organized by Seth Grimes, a leading analyst and business consultant in the areas of natural language processing, text analytics, sentiment analysis, and their business applications. So, what is emotion AI, why is it relevant, and what do you need to know about it?
SortSpoke’s novel approach to machine learning answers a longstanding problem in financial services – how to efficiently extract critical data from inbound, unstructured documents at 100% data quality.
Amazon is offering its cashierless store technology to other retailers. The technology known as “Just Walk Out” eliminates checkout lines, offering an “effortless” shopping experience and shifting store associates to “more valuable activities”.
Alphabet is facing backlash from its shareholders over its approach to digital privacy, reports the Financial Times. And not for the first time. This time, however, things will need to change.
The EU plans to invest €6 billion to build a single European data space, reports EURACTIV. The envisioned space will house personal, business, and “high-quality industrial data” and create the infrastructure for data sharing and use across businesses and nations.
“Facebook quietly acquired another UK AI startup and almost no one noticed,” reported TechCrunch on February 10. We looked into why.
In a landmark ruling, a Dutch court has ordered an immediate halt to the government’s use of an automated system for detection of welfare fraud.
Databricks, a data processing and analytics platform with a strong focus on AI and ML, has partnered with Immuta to deliver automated end-to-end data governance for AI, data science, and ML projects.