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Artificial intelligence helps us ‘predict the next coronavirus’

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Artificial intelligence

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected hundreds of millions of people. Even now, many new COVID-19 variants (types) are coming up.

As we are battling this virus, scientists are trying to predict where the next variant will emerge. This can help us be better prepared.

A team of scientists are using artificial intelligence (AI) to work out where the next novel coronavirus could emerge. The system uses a combination of fundamental (basic) biology and machine learning.

Artificial intelligence means a type of machine that can solve problems like humans, using natural intelligence. Machine learning is an application of AI.

The scientists’ new AI programme has predicted many potential hosts of new virus variants.

How does the artificial intelligence programme work?

First, the team used it to predict which mammals might be vulnerable to known coronaviruses. This uses the knowledge we already have about mammals and coronaviruses.

Then, they looked for species that are able to host several viruses at once. Finding this means that we have found a list of animals that we can keep a check on.

Coronavirus is a zoonotic virus. This means it can spread from animals to humans. So, this new information can help us catch the virus before it reaches humans.

 

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