By Tony Winterburn • 28 March 2020 • 19:56
The ‘data crunching’ technology is being used to speed up the development of testing kits and treatments, to track the spread of the virus, and to provide citizens with real-time information.
In South Korea, the government mobilised the private sector to begin developing coronavirus testing kits soon after reports of a new virus began to emerge from China. As part of this drive, Seoul-based molecular biotech company Seegene used AI to speed up the development of testing kits, enabling it to submit its solution to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) three weeks after scientists began working on it.
The company’s founder and chief executive, Chun Jong-yoon, said that had AI not been used, the process would have taken two to three months.
The approval process for new medical equipment, such as testing kits, usually takes 18 months, but the KCDC – part of the South Korean Ministry of Welfare and Health – fast-tracked the process and approved the tests in one week, having evaluated them using the government’s own patient samples.
China has also used AI to speed up scientific processes. Scientists recreated the genome sequence of Covid-19 in a month, aided by AI.
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