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Role of AI soars in tackling Covid-19 pandemic

For the first time in a pandemic, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a role like never before in areas ranging from diagnosing risk to doubt-clearing, from delivery of services to drug discovery in tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.

While BlueDoT, a Canadian health monitoring firm that crunches flight data and news reports using AI, is being credited by international reports to be the first to warn its clients of an impending outbreak on December 31, beating countries and international developmental agencies, the Indian tech space too is buzzing with coronavirus cracking activities.

Drugs efficacy and busting fake info

Another start-up, Innoplexus AG, headquartered in Germany but founded by Indians, is claiming that its AI-enabled drug discovery platform is helping to arrive at combinations of existing drugs that may prove more efficacious in treating Covid-19 cases.

Its AI platform, after scanning the ‘entire universe of Covid-related data’ has thrown up results to show that Hydroxycholoroquine or Chroloquine, an anti-malaria drug that is being prescribed as a prophylactic for coronavirus under many protocols works more effectively with some other existing drugs than when it is used alone, the company claims.

“Our analysis shows that Chloroquine works more effectively in combination with Pegasys (a drug used to treat Hepatitis C] or Tocilizumab, (a rheumatoid arthritis drug) or Remdesivir (yet to be approved antiviral drug for Ebola) or Clarithromycin (an antibiotic). We are hoping to work with drug regulators and partners to test these in pre-clinical and clinical trials,” said Gunjan Bhardwaj, CEO, Innoplexus.

To be sure, hundreds of clinical trials are currently under way with several cocktails of medicines for Covid-19 across the world, and some of these drugs were part of trials held in China and Taiwan. The World Health Organization (WHO) itself is monitoring a global mega clinical trial for testing drugs for Covid-19 called ‘solidarity’, which India decided to join on Friday.

Originally published on The Hindu BusinessLine.

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