Alibaba’s breakthrough AI-powered system detects Coronavirus cases in 20 seconds



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Coronavirus has not yet been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. However, since its transmission rate is concerning, everyone needs to take all possible precautions to avoid getting infected. Additionally, Identifying identifying people infected with the virus is also a task in itself, but the Chinese tech giant Alibaba has come up with a new AI-powered diagnosis system. This new system claims to detect new coronavirus cases with an accuracy rate of up to 96 percent.  

Alibaba’s AI-powered coronavirus detection system

The new coronavirus detection system by Alibaba makes use of Computed Tomography images. It is touted to finish the disease recognition process in merely 20 seconds when in comparison, it could take doctors anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes to analyze a CT scan of one suspected patient to deliver a clinical diagnosis. Considering the need to swiftly check hundreds of patients every day that could be infected with coronavirus, the new tool is definitely a blessing. 

The Chinese National Health Commission widened the criteria for diagnosing new infections on February 5. CT scan results were added on top of the previous nucleic acid test method for ensuring that patients with clinical symptoms of coronavirus are identified and standard treatment is delivered to them as soon as possible. 

Detection tool developed at Alibaba’s research institute 

The new coronavirus detection tool was developed at Alibaba’s research institute Damo Academy. As reported by Nikkei Asian Review, researchers at the academy apparently trained the AI model with sample data of over 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. This resulted in an AI powered system that is said to be capable of identifying differences in CT scans between patients infected with the novel virus and those with ordinary viral pneumonia with an accuracy of up to 96 percent.

The new diagnostic tool was first introduced in the new Qiboshan Hospital in Zhengzhou, Henan province. The new system will also be used in over 100 hospitals in the provinces of Hubei, Guangdong and Anhui, the report states. This is not the first time Alibaba has focussed its efforts on fighting the coronavirus. Its researchers at the Damo Academy previously developed an AI-powered public health service tool that provides information related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Stock photo from Corona Borealis Studio/Shutterstock

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Shubham Sharma

Grew up reading tech magazines and comic books. I binge on books, manga, movies, anime, and everything in between. Nothing makes my day like an innovative idea and a good tech story. You can reach him via [email protected]

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