Emerging technologies highly impacting management of COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 has had a catalytic effect on emerging technologies and has pushed several technologies into the forefront of methods to manage the pandemic. This is likely to be a watershed event and it is expected that these new technologies will continue to be used as tools to handle any future pandemics or crises, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Health agencies and governments are turning to real-world evidence from observational studies and containment strategies to assess potential approaches to fight the COVID-19 spread. For instance, telemedicine has seen a rapid emergence onto the field as healthcare providers, patients, health insurance providers, regulatory bodies and clinical trials have readily adapted to it.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, explains: “This ensures that doctors can continue to manage patients with medical conditions remotely without the need to go to a hospital or clinic, reducing contacts and the potential chance for the spread of the disease. This technology can be used going forward to reduce patient travel and provide remote monitoring.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been adapted by countries and businesses to develop tools and techniques to combat the disease, develop novel drugs, diagnose and screen patients and predict viral-host-protein-protein interactions. Countries are using AI to curb the spread of COVID-19 by providing information on early warnings and alerts, tracking and prediction, treatments, diagnosis, and social control. Drug development companies are using AI to identify potential COVID-19 treatments. BenevolentAI, a UK-based artificial intelligence company, used its proprietary AI drug discovery and development platform to identify Eli Lilly’s baricitinib as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The use of 3D printing is being leveraged to manufacture face masks, nasal swabs for test kits and personal protective equipment. This has allowed for rapid production of supplies across geographic boundaries and has allowed distributive collaboration.

Swanson concludes: “While these emerging technologies have a high potential to do good, there are also numerous legal and regulatory issues that will have to be determined around issues such as the right to privacy, access to information, copyrights and the ethics of AI.”

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