Apps supported by AI are helping people efficiently screen themselves for any traces of Coronavirus, thus reducing the pressure on medical professionals and healthcare institutions. These applications are also helpful in warning the people who have a high risk of getting Coronavirus infection in the globe. Recently, two Indian-origin researchers, Abhi Bhatia and Arni SR Srinivasa Rao, one in Australia and the other in the US, led their teams to build a specific Coronavirus risk checker application that counters the fear and confusion that surrounds the infection.

Coronavirus or Sars- Cov-2 originated in Wuhan district in China and spread rapidly across the globe affecting many people. Health authorities across the world have issued a high alert as the cases of Coronavirus surpassed 100,000. The virus so far spread to around 89 countries and reached every continent except for Antarctica. Who has so far declared Coronavirus outbreak as a ‘global pandemic.’

Apps and AI To Guide Self-Screen for Coronavirus

Abhi Bhatia, the CEO and co-founder of Medius Health, an AI digital health company based in Australia, launched his platform on March 4 and Arni SR Srinivasa Rao from Augusta University in the United States will follow suit. The developer researched application can be used to spread information about the virus to the public and refute the rumours circulating along with it. It is meant to proper details relevant to the symptoms of the Coronavirus and dispels any fears of the people.

However, applications that allow at-home detection in a minute are also getting into India. The individuals applying for the home detection apps need to fill in a detailed questionnaire. The AI app then uses an algorithm to assess their information quickly, send a risk assessment, no risk, minimal risk, moderate or high risk, and alerts the local facility centre for the health check if needed. According to Bhatia, the biggest problem with epidemics, in general, is the humongous supply and demand mismatch that comes with it. The massive demand for medical professionals and healthcare institutions and the less supply of it.

Also, the inappropriate fear of the public puts additional pressure on the healthcare institutions which are already battling a less supply to tackle the pandemic. According to Bhatia, the Sydney-based Medius Health developed Quro, a useful risk assessment tool for COVID-19. He stated, ‘the do-it-yourself web app tool presents the user with questions related to prevalent symptoms and risk factors following WHO protocols and guidelines.’

Guide People Self-Screen for Coronavirus

The tool helps to understand the symptoms of the patient and effectively determine the Coronavirus risk, if any, thereby educating the public about the virus and also collecting data for healthcare officials for new medication if required. Bhatia stated, ‘given the size of the populace in India and the sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus, we received more than 4,000 hits within 24 hours of rolling out the tool in India. The number is only increasing as people in India use Quro to assess their risk indicator out of concern for health and panic. Our AI system is also continuously collating this data to help the Health ministry understand the magnitude of fear amongst people as well as steer potential high-risk cases towards early detection and timely medical intervention to prevent it from spreading further. Until Thursday, there were 64,843 hits on the risk assessment app with 28,700 hits from India. The number of risk assessments is growing at 32 per cent daily.’

Arni SR Srinivasa Rao Rao along with his team stated that their app could help direct the people who are at risk to the local testing facility or healthcare institution. The soon-to-be-launched app will also provide domestic and public health officials with proper real-time information on emerging demographics of the people who are the most at risk for Coronavirus. This would help them target better preventive measure and treatment initiatives for the concerned.

The risk assessment app enquires about symptoms of any infection and their duration, the symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sputum production, headache, diarrhoea and pneumonia, among others. It also enables the collection of similar information for the people living with the individual but cannot fill out the required survey. Bhatia sees the tremendous smartphone penetration in India as a plus factor.