Covid-19 vs Science And Technology

Covid-19 or The Corona Virus Disease, a declared Pandemic, has put the entire world on peril not only by its life-threatening tendency but rather a painful malady phase. It has also been stressing people by making them sit at their homes which is leading them towards mental sickness. A few out of many effects of this ongoing disaster are:

  • Economic retardation
  • Devastation of daily-wagers
  • Disruption of small scale industries/ businesses/tradings.
  • Complete shut-down of tourist spots, worshipping places, daily transport and the tour and travel industry.

Almost everyone on social media is sharing contents related to prevention, precautions, traditional remedies plus some fake news and whatnot about Corona Virus/Covid-19. People are lingering inside their houses in many parts of the world wherever there is LOCK-DOWN but the count of Covid-positive patients has been incrementing every day. Doctors, Nurses, Police, Engineers, Researchers and many social superheroes are staying up at their work either for developing a successful vaccine or an antidote in laboratories for this disease to save humankind or working as responsible volunteers to save the victims. As we deep dive into this matter, we find that the first phase i.e the testing-phase of a patient who is suspected to be infected by the virus, is not so accurate, RT-PCR technique and the thermal screening is being used at initial phases for diagnoses of the virus, wherein which the RT-PCR has an accuracy of only about 60%-70%, which is considerably less for such a widespread and disastrous breakdown. And this might be one possible reason for this “epidemic” to grow “pandemic”.

Science is one of the most varied and applied subjects across the globe. The further disciplines of Science such as Biology: related to life, Chemistry: related to chemicals, Physics: related to matter or physical things happening in the universe are the crucial ones. The other branches include Computer Science and Mathematics. Today, the entire world is totally dependent on all of these bifurcations cohesively. The Medical Sciences, Engineering and Researchers had always guarded the Humankind and helped them to survive through such arduous situations like plague outbreak in the past decades.

As mentioned earlier the covid-19 suspected patients are first subjected to thermal screening and in the case of higher temperature, the suspect has to give the DNA samples which is examined under a certain polypeptide chain or a DNA test known as Reverse transcription-polymerase Chain Reaction( rt-PCR test) that again gives only 60–70% of preciseness. Isn’t it terrifying?

Not just in this case but the lack of precision can be somewhere worse in other scenarios too. Let’s discuss a few challenges we may face due to the errs and shortcomings being encountered in some of these pandemic related situations.

Challenges of Moderate Precision

CHALLENGE 1: In the above-discussed scenario, 70% accuracy in the test of any covid-19 suspect means there is 30% probability of having the disease in the person with a negative report and also 30% chance of a person being healthy with a positive report. The second scenario is not so dreadful, as the positive patient would be quarantined for a period of some days. The condition gets worse in the first scenario, and if we assume that this person is having a very strong immune system which will fight the corona in a very short period still this person will act as a carrier for the virus and will keep on spreading the virus if not quarantined in time.

A Possible Approach To Conquer Challenge

As the virus attacks the respiratory tract of the affected. Scanning the lungs of the inferred corona host should be done through chest X-Rays or CT-SCAN. These radio-graphs show some white coloured clusters or patches which confirm the presence of a virus in the lungs using which a patient can be advised to be in quarantine. Collecting these radio-graphs a computer science engineer or an AI engineer or CSE students like us can obtain a proper dataset and train a model in Deep Learning of mask R-CNN, using CV along with DL, will further help the doctors in saving their time to generate radio-graphs and at the time of scanning only, the program will detect the presence of white patch and would give a kind of alarm/buzzer/notification to the doctor of this abnormality in the radio-graph. this way Doctors will be able to see, treat and cure more patients as compared to the present scenario. This may get very costly if the X-Ray machines and CT-SCAN machines are bought, what if the machines are borrowed (or the patients are taken there in a proper ambulance)from small dispensaries, labs, clinics and if possible from some private hospitals for this pandemic time period.

Challenge 2: Railway stations, Bus Stops, ISBTs, are places where no proper thermal screening is being carried out, a lot of people travel or pass through these places. At the Airports, all the passengers are being thermal screened, due to better management these screenings are being carried out in a better manner, but at places like Railway stations or Bus stops this is not being considered at a higher priority.

Approach To Overcome This Challenge

A possible solution for this could be the installation of thermal cameras and display devices at these places, The camera will do the scanning and will process the output on the display devices. Highlighting the passengers with abnormal results on the displays will make people aware of that person and the security at that place would lead that person to the medical room or to the nearest hospital for further check-up. This would be helpful for the poor also, who are unaware and aren’t able to understand what is happening to them, if they get caught by the virus, moreover, they will become a high-level carrier of the virus.

These are two of the ways by which the spread of this disease can be restrained desirably. Many other solutions for instance ventilators, open-source ventilators which are being worked upon by many students, professors and researchers, they have been designed (are being) in such a manner that it can absorb oxygen from the atmosphere and help the patient to breathe. Considering such innovations and the funds or donations provided to the government, we would be able to conquer this disease and hope to see that the number of patients does not increase at an awfully fast rate in near future.