The world is witnessing the most threatening pandemic since the Spanish flu in 1918 in the form of the COVID19 outbreak. What started in Wuhan, China in last November has spread to at least 183 countries and territories having infected over 250,000 people. The fatality rate is not definite but something around 8-10%. If the outbreak is not stopped in its tracks it can cause the death of 4-5% of the world’s population. This is a real challenge for the data scientists and AI engineers of the world to find a way to put up a technological defence mechanism.

The role data has played previously

The story of Google predicting flu outbreak two weeks before the center for disease control and prevention by correlating the number of victims with the number of flu related searches is quite well known. This time the Canadian organization BlueDot alerted the COVID19 outbreak well before the CDC. The glories of data science are not unsung in our world. It is to be seen if data science can help save the world this time.

Why is data science crucial this time?

The world is too full of people and equipped with too little medical facilities to deal with a pandemic. The only way to reduce the effects of a disease like the one at hand is to be proactive and stop the spread. The use of data can be crucial in two primary aspects. One is identifying, assessing and protecting the infected and the other is finding a cure. There are other roles it can play which we will come to later.

Identification of the outbreak

What needs to be understood is that the hospitalization data for the COVID19 infection does not exist yet. Hence the data needs to be collected on people who are admitted with respiratory problems – cases of pneumonia and bronchitis among others. This data has then to be correlated with the travel history of the patients. This sort of data collection makes more sense because you cannot just run corona tests on every person with a runny nose or a sore throat.

The outbreak data can help the state take precautionary measures to control the outbreak. The medical billing data can also be accessed to identify the victims. This will also help to create a vulnerability index for the patients.

Finding a cure

Rapid research and development is necessary in order to create a functional vaccine for the virus. We must count on the marriage of microbiology and artificial intelligence. The AI driven testing process reduces the time required to analyze and test various protein structures by many times.

This is a time for the healthcare analytics sector to step up its game. These situations show us the value of data science professionals in the country. Undergoing a data science course in Gurgaon can be the first step for you.