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Artificial Intelligence Helping the Fight Against The Flu

Artificial Intelligence Helping the Fight Against The Flu

USA-  The flu season so far has been a tough one to deal with, about 8,990 Americans have been to the hospital, with 30 children succumbing to the flu. Researchers are currently finding way to improve the Influenza vaccine rate as it is down to 30% effectiveness. They are hoping this will help them in the future to protect people from the flu. An AI, Artificial Intelligence Machine, can help in learning, particularly a way to come up with some solutions. 

Artificial Intelligence has played a key part in how flu research is done. It helps scientists with broadcasting the flu season, which in turn could help them develop more effective vaccines. This might also help them develop a more universal vaccine that could protect from the different strains of the Influenza. Forecasting can help researchers look ahead and predict flu outbreaks and therefore avoid vaccine shortages. This would help them have access to crucial information for the public during the flu season. This is similar to how the weather gets forecasted explains Dr. Roni Rosenfeld, machine expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Rosenfield along with his Carnegie Mellon Colleagues are using these machines to gather data, this will help them see how the flu has progressed in the past years all across the country. Rosenfeld says each year is similar to the years before. For this reason, he would like to dig deeper into the data he has to have a more detail record of the impact the flu has on each country and city. 

In regions like Southeast or New England, there is barely an epidemic, Rosenfeld says. The flu hist different cities and countries in different ways and times than locally. They would benefit from a more customed analysis of what is going on in those regions. Rosenfeld and his other researchers are also including Artificial Intelligence to help them in the forecasting of the flu season, while others are using this Intelligence to help me them come up with a better flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) distinguished 2,000 influenza viruses. This information helps them point at specific flu viruses which are more likely to live among the population for six months. This is to help researchers produce vaccines to attack these strains. 

This can get tricky because flu viruses multiply fast, which would make the strain of flu transform quickly making less effective at controlling symptoms for anyone who catches the flu, even if they have received vaccinations. Artificial Intelligence could take some of the uncertainty in vaccine development, which in turn can make sure they are effective. Dr. Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee did research on a one a kind study in 2011 where he used machines that could learn and examine certain flu mutations and viruses which he believed caused the flu swine to transfer from pigs to humans in 2009, a pandemic that killed almost 575,400 humans around the world. These machines are also a great tool for studying normal seasonal flu viruses. Scientists are now using the molecular structure of the virus to show how it fights against the immune system, so called the antigenic properties.

Critical information we have about antigenic information, they are circling, says Webby. Scientist are currently working on training machines to see ahead and predict different mutations that might have the antigenicity of this virus. This is so that they cant the proper vaccines done correctly. There is currently one biotechnical firm using Artificial Intelligence. A Boston based company that Berg worked with back in October 2017 along with French drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur used Artificial Intelligence to do research on why it protected some people better than others.  CEO from Berg, Niven Narain said Artificial Intelligence could lead them to more customizable vaccines. This means specific vaccines for different age groups, population and different geographical areas around the world.  Narain says this will be a turning point. 


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