How AI and Blockchain Startups Are Contributing to The Fight Against #Coronavirus
Serial Entrepreneur |Blockchain 4 Social Impact |Sharing/Subscription Economy Researcher|
The new decade began with an unprecedented number of natural disasters, including Puerto Rico Earthquakes, Yemen Humanitarian Crisis, Australian Bushfires, Floods in Indonesia, the outbreak of coronavirus, and others.
As of today, every continent with the exception of Antarctica has had a case of coronavirus with numbers increasingly growing. There are now a total of 87,790 cases
of the virus and at least 2,975 deaths globally, according to the latest figures
from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.
Approximately 42,000+ people have recovered though.
of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health stated the following: "I think it is likely we will see a global pandemic.
If a pandemic happens, 40% to 70% of people worldwide are likely to be infected in the coming year. What proportion is asymptomatic, I can't give a good number." (Source)
Some even question Dean Koontz`s book, The Eyes of Darkness
, because he talked about the Wuhan-400 virus and projected it to be originated in 2020. This is remarkable as the book was written 40 years ago!
Check out more here
about the book in the news...
All the events since the inception of 2020 and global effects of coronavirus in the past few weeks makes one wonder if this is a sign of the end of the world or just a coincidence?
Can DeepMind or AI, in general, help us predict and learn to prevent any form of disaster from happening based on human history?
Throughout human existence, there have been dozens of pandemics, and technological and scientific developments have defeated some of the Top 10 Worst Epidemics in History
Some others are mentioned below. However, coronavirus still remains undefeated in the battlefield today.
To develop a vaccine and alternative approaches to stop the spread of COVID-19 and decrease the casualties, world leaders are taking bold actions and institutions, funds, and government bodies are teaming up with professionals, scientists, and startups to develop a possible solution rapidly.
For example, CNBC
recently reported that 87 China-based businesses have received more than $200 million in loans through a cross-border, pilot blockchain finance platform.
Additionally, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, is spending $100 million
to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Notably, Bill Gates
has warned about a pandemic for years
The White House is about to invest $2.5 billion
to prepare to battle coronavirus. The EU is allocating €232 million t
o fight the virus. South Korea is planning to allocate an extra budget of $9.5 billion
. To explore even further, here
are the latest partnerships of foundations that are granting millions of dollars to scientific private and public entitie
So, what solutions are being implemented to improve the situation using Blockchain and AI? The following tells what a few companies are doing:
- Insilico Medicine is using AI to rapidly identify molecules that could form the basis of an effective treatment against the coronavirus. According to Alex Zhavoronkov, Chief Executive Officer of the company, and his team, it took Insilico's AI-based system four days to identify thousands of new molecules that could be turned into potential medicines against the virus. To learn more about the project, click here.
- BlueDot has built a sophisticated AI platform that processes billions of pieces of data, such as from the world’s air travel network, to identify a solution for the outbreak. In the case of the coronavirus, BlueDot made its first alert on December 31st, 2019. This was ahead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which made its determination on January 6th, 2020. According to Kamran Khan, CEO, and his team, the company’s AI system tracks over 100 infectious diseases by analyzing about 100,000 articles in 65 languages every day. That data helps them know when to notify its clients about the potential presence and spread of an infectious disease.
- Metabiota is another ground-breaking firm that uses natural-language processing to evaluate online reports about a potential disease. Nita Madhav and her team are working on developing technology for social media data. One of the most insightful reports that I enjoyed reading, can be found here.
- Infervision, a Chinese AI startup and a leading global high-tech enterprise in medical artificial intelligence has deployed its solutions at 34 hospitals in China and has been used to review more than 32,000 cases. Kuan Chen and his team created its main product, software that flags possible lung problems on CT scans, using hundreds of thousands of lung images collected from major Chinese hospitals. The software is in use at hospitals in China, and being evaluated by clinics in Europe and the U.S. to detect potentially cancerous lung nodules
- Hyperchain has developed a blockchain-based donation tracking platform called Shanzong and is backed by the China Xiong’an Group. The idea is that donors can track their donations at every stage and see when their money resembles the needed medical equipment.
- Xiang Hu Bao (owned by Alipay) developed a Blockchain solution platform, using blockchain technology to process coronavirus claims, reduce paperwork, and eliminate the need for back-and-forth documents delivered to clinics during the outbreak, the Chinese insurance firm
- While Blockchain solutions are being implemented and tested, CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, sent a tweet announcing this pledge:
As this coronavirus continues to spread and cause fatalities, more and more companies, foundations, medical professionals, and scientists will join forces to explore alternatives and find the solutions. As I reflect in this article, I am reminded of the scene from "World War Z" in which Mother Nature is a deadly killer
Like large global corporations, cryptocurrency exchanges and other blockchain companies have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and are coping with a new way of life and business as it continues to disrupt their operations.
Although coronavirus has spread much more quickly compared to other outbreaks, like SARS and MERS, according to World Economic Forum, researchers are using lessons learned from previous outbreaks to best approach this one.
Only by joining forces, studying past experiences, exploring existing resources, and collaborating freely around the world will a solution be able to be found to control this tragic situation.
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