First Hints Of The Wuhan Virus Outbreak Were Caught By AI

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An AI-driven health monitoring and disease detection platform was able to catch the signs of the Wuhan viral outbreak approximately a week before government agencies warned the public, providing a look at how AI can be used to catch disease outbreaks in a timely fashion. While the official World Health Organization notification of the Wuhan virus went out on January ninth and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received word of the outbreak on January sixth, the first warning signs of the outbreak were picked up by a Canadian health monitoring system almost a week prior. As Wired reported, the AI-driven health system BlueDot warned its clients about the possible outbreak on December 31st. Bluedot uses AI algorithms to monitor different global news sources and detect patterns in health reports. It also takes into account information on plant and animal disease networks.


How artificial intelligence provided early warnings of the Wuhan virus

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During the kind of virus outbreak that China and other nations are now contending with, time is of the essence. The earlier the warning, the better the chance to contain the contagion. One problem, though, is that governments are sometimes reticent to share information. Such was the case in 2002 and 2003, when Chinese authorities were accused of covering up the SARS epidemic that eventually claimed over 740 lives around the world. With the current outbreak, involving a coronavirus that originated in Wuhan and has so far taken over 40 lives, the Chinese government is being more transparent, as Germany's health minister noted to Bloomberg yesterday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.


An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus

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On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors' exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6. But a Canadian health monitoring platform had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31. BlueDot uses an AI-driven algorithm that scours foreign-language news reports, animal and plant disease networks, and official proclamations to give its clients advance warning to avoid danger zones like Wuhan. Speed matters during an outbreak, and tight-lipped Chinese officials do not have a good track record of sharing information about diseases, air pollution, or natural disasters.


An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus

#artificialintelligence

On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors' exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6. But a Canadian health monitoring platform had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31. BlueDot uses an AI-driven algorithm that scours foreign-language news reports, animal and plant disease networks, and official proclamations to give its clients advance warning to avoid danger zones like Wuhan. Speed matters during an outbreak, and tight-lipped Chinese officials do not have a good track record of sharing information about diseases, air pollution, or natural disasters.


An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus

#artificialintelligence

On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors' exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6. But a Canadian health monitoring platform had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31. BlueDot uses an AI-driven algorithm that scours foreign-language news reports, animal and plant disease networks, and official proclamations to give its clients advance warning to avoid danger zones like Wuhan. Speed matters during an outbreak, and tight-lipped Chinese officials do not have a good track record of sharing information about diseases, air pollution, or natural disasters.