Can Artificial Intelligence and Internet Be the Solution to Prevent the Exponential Spread of COVID-19?

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jun 25. doi: 10.2196/19104. Online ahead of print.


Background: Artificial intelligence (AI) and internet can have a promising role in maximizing safety and preventing the rapid terrifying spread of COVID-19. With the exponential increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, there is a high possibility that the physicians and health care workers will not be able to cover all of these cases. Thus, computer scientists should contribute in this struggle against COVID-19 by introducing more intelligent solutions to achieve a rapid control of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Objective: Our objective was to provide analysis for the current literature along with discussing the possible applicability for the available ideas that utilize AI to prevent and control COVID-19 showing how the current systems may be of use in a particular area to build a comprehensive view. This can be of great help to many healthcare administrators, computer scientists, and policy makers around the world.

Methods: We conducted an electronic search of articles that utilize MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Embase and Web of Knowledge databases to formulate a comprehensive view that summarize different ideas about the most recent approaches to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 using AI.

Results: Our search identified the 10 most recent artificial intelligence approaches, which were suggested to be able to give the best solutions for maximizing safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The approaches included detection of suspected cases, large scale screening, monitoring, interactions with experimental therapies, screening pneumonia, internet of intelligent things for data and information, resources allocation, predictions, modeling and simulation, and robotics for medical quarantine.

Conclusions: It was found that the most approaches which almost have none or very few studies are the usage of AI for COVID-19 interactions with experimental therapies, usage of AI for resources allocation to COVID-19 patients, and usage of AI and internet of intelligent things for COVID-19 data and information. However, other approaches including usage of AI for COVID-19 predictions, usage of AI for COVID-19 modeling and simulation, and usage of AI robotics for medical quarantine should be furtherly emphasized to be adopted by researchers since these important approaches lack sufficient number of studies. Therefore, our recommendation for computer scientists is to focus on these approaches that are still not being adequately covered.