How Technology Can Help Us Fight Against Pandemics like COVID-19

Posted on May 04, 2020
How Technology Can Help Us Fight Against Pandemics like COVID-19

A few months ago, a deadly virus causing the COVID-19 disease started to appear in the world.

Since then it has been officially declared as a pandemic why the WHO, the World Health Organization. 

All nations on earth are currently uniting their strengths and efforts to fight the virus. In what follows we will list how our modern technology can help us fight the pandemic.

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Scientific Computing

Scientific Computing

Why We Need Super Computers to Fight COVID-19

The scientific community can use extremely powerful supercomputers to sequence (or decode)  the genetic material of the virus and track its mutations.

Billions of coronavirus microscopic particles can spread through just one droplet. Everyone of these particles contains up to some 30,000 DNA codes which are all different, with subtle variations between each other.

The race to decode all the sequences of the virus , especially the virus found in infected patients, is essential so that the scientific community could find a vaccine and test therapies.

Besides the decoding of the genome, supercomputers can also perform various simulations  involving dynamic models for the virus, predictions and mechanical simulations using molecular physics.

This allows us to answer questions such as : why is that virus so infectious? What are his characteristics? Etc….

The speed of decoding the genomes of such viruses has dramatically risen in power during the last decades.

Such decoding which could take years and cost billions of dollars for only one genome can now be performed only in a few hours on highly optimized clusters of supercomputers.

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IBM and the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium 

IBM for instance have used its power to create a consortium , the High Performance Computing Consortium, which allows the access to “402 petaflops, 105,334 nodes, 3,539,044 CPU cores, 41,286 GPUs, and counting” to the international science community so that they can crack the virus genetic code.

IBM’s supercomputer – Summit – equipped with the latest Artificial Intelligence is continuously running thousands of simulations in order to analyze the drugs combination  which could effectively stop the virus..

Summit already  identified 77 of such drug combinations and it’s a hope to find a cure very soon.

Grid Computing

Several COVID-19 projects are using grid computing by allowing anyone equipped with a PC to share his CPU power to perform genetic decoding of the virus behind COVID-19. 

Ordinary people from the ‘general public’ can indeed help develop new drugs by running simulations on their own computers. These computers will perform specific calculations – small bricks – which will be joined together to form a giant supercomputer.

In March 2020, more than 30,000 users had already downloaded the Folding@home application, sharing actively their computers to build a massive supercomputer based on distributed computing.

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Cyber-Physical-Systems

Cyber-Physical-Systems

In such a situation robotics and Cyber-Physical-Systems (CPS) can be our friends and saviors!  They fear computer viruses but certainly not biological viruses! 

Hyper-Automation 

Organizations are now rapidly turning to automation to be able to face the consequences of the pandemic. 

As a side-effect to the coronavirus pandemic an automation boom is occurring in many industries all over the world.

While dozens of millions of workers have applied for unemployment,  automation is filling some of the gaps.

The automation trend which was already present is developing now much faster as a key strategy to fight the pandemic.

Robotics 

Robots are natural helpers in such a situation . Robot nurses for example could provide efficient work in the medical area without the risk to be contaminated! 

Transports of goods which are vital such as food supplies can also be achieved by robots.

Automation of warehouses, supply chain processing and transportations, factories and fabrics by using robot workers is a key strategy to fight COVID-19 allowing the economy to function while a strong lockdown and social distancing is inplace. 

Key and strategic sectors such as defense, aerospace, civil aviation are also equipped with automated and robotic systems using Artificial Intelligence and can keep working to prevent security issues and destabilization created by the pandemic.

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Remote Work and Internet

Remote Work and Internet

Remote Work 

Because of the problems involved by the pandemic, companies and businesses are no longer able to conduct their operations with employees working physically in the same office or building.

For many businesses remote work which is offered by the development of high-speed internet is the solution to fight the negative effects of COVID-19 on their activities and daily operations.

During the last decade, many technologies have been developed, allowing web users to share their screens online, to access remotely central servers with fast graphical user Interfaces.

Costs involved with high-speed internet and overseas telephony have dramatically decreased as well.

Here are some of the cyber-security tips while working from home.

E-commerce

E-commerce is a real way to get vital products such as food or healthcare without having to physically shop online.

Websites are now much more reactive and faster than they were before and users can easily shop for their preferred products and order them remotely.

E-commerce is expecting to develop itself even more rapidly than before as a way to fight COVID-19.

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Blockchain

 Blockchain

Blockchain technologies allow the creation of an “identity immunity passport” which is based on a purely digital solution. 

The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) is building an identity passport which will allow individuals to securely prove that they present medical guarantees not to be infected and have overgone a series of tests. 

Such a digital passport would be issued by health care institutions and used by people to travel and conduct freely vital operations over the world.

Cyber Security

Cyber security offers law enforcements a lot of technological tools not only to defend their systems but also to track and monitor citizens (which is controversial) using video cameras, mobile phone applications, unmanned vehicles and sensors.

In such a situation, this can be used to effectively control the flow of the infected and contagious people and to prevent as much as possible the spreading of the virus.

Automated thermal body scanners and infrared technology can be a tool to monitor people and detect infected persons and act efficiently to prevent them from propagating the virus.

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3D Printers

3D printers

Many companies from the European 3Dprinting industry are proposing the use of their machines to hospitals and health centers so as to be able to produce the medical supplies and items needed for protection such as masks, N95 respirator or components for ventilators.

3D printers can be used to fight COVID-19 because they allow virtually anyone to produce relatively sophisticated pieces of equipment.

Nano Technologies

A virus typically has a similar scale as nanoparticles. Nano Technologies could create particles that could attack the SARS-CoV-2 viruses in such a way that it could invalidate it. 

Nanomedicine is a brand new technology  which uses nano particles to incapacitate viruses. Their use could be proven to be extremely useful in order to fight against the virus.

It has to be noted that, as of 2020, these technologies are completely experimental and their effects mostly theoretical. 

Nevertheless, nanotechnologies could be used in the long-term as a key strategy to fight COVID-19 in the future.

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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence allows  us to conduct a war against the virus by using simulation models, markov models and predicting scenarios, by classifying people and predicting which people will be likely to have virus infections.  

Artificial Intelligence can use terabytes of data sets collected from sensors, data applications, formulas, new feeds and others to analyze and predict the possible evolutions and discover the strategies of the virus that creates COVID-19. 

In the war against COVID-19, which is a war against a virus and the information mechanisms behind that virus, Artificial Intelligence is the real general that can lead the troops to victory! 

Conclusion

Technology can be the real way to get rid of COVID-19 for humanity. We hope that we have given here a panorama of the many ways novel techniques,especially artificial intelligence, can help us to defend against that new global threat.

Technology can be the real way to get rid of COVID-19 for humanity. We hope that we have given here a panorama of the many ways novel techniques,especially artificial intelligence, can help us to defend against that new global threat.

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WRITTEN BY
Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan, is a seasoned Digital Marketer with more than 17+ years in Digital Marketing & IT Sales. He loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the digital world, especially related to WordPress, Woocommerce and Digital Marketing.

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