Till now, only businesses have been enjoying the benefits of employing Big Data analytics techniques in their operations. But with the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic, data analytics has found immense use in the healthcare sector.
With the availability of various Big Data tools, all sectors are now coming forward to adopt this technology, with the hope of effectively tracking the number of cases and reduce the impact of the virus.

Why Are Researchers Using Big Data Analytics In This Global Crisis?

From the time COVID-19 started in the USA, researchers have been engaged in understanding more about the transmission of this virus and why it affects some people and doesn’t affect others. And most importantly, what steps they should take to reduce the impact and the spread of this virus.
And interestingly, it is not only data analytics, but also Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and data science that are guiding researchers to know more about this unprecedented pandemic.

How are they trying to tackle the situation?


The core of the solution is the ready availability of data. According to a professor of the Rensselaer Polytechnic (RPI), James Hendler, this problem can be solved by Big Data alone, so they are mainly trying to track how the disease is spreading throughout the world. RPI also mentioned that they have been employing numerous Big Data tools to understand the nature and behavior of the virus from different perspectives. This includes tracking data from China when the virus hit the country much before January 2020 and then comparing it with US data.
Hendler further added that they have also been trying to decipher social media responses during this pandemic. Between checking the availability of medical resources, detecting signs and symptoms and tracking the spread of this virus, researchers also have to manage enormous volumes of data that is impossible to process manually. In this way, data analytics has extended a helping hand to researchers to help them identify the root of this problem as quickly as possible.

How can AI play a vital role in handling the crisis?

Hendler said that fortunately there are various units of Big Data Analytics where we can apply AI to speed up the research work. For example, in the area of biomedical research studies, experiments are going on regularly to find a possible vaccine. For this, the projects require the adoption of Machine Learning and AI to map the known characteristics of the virus in the databases. He further stated that AI also helps in identifying potential targets.
Now scientists are retrieving social media data to learn how people are handling the stress arising from this pandemic. AI is found to have been quite effective at multi-factor learning and scientists are therefore encouraging the extraction of information from social media.
With each passing day, we are realizing that we cannot beat this virus by staying inside our confinements. A collaborative effort is needed to find an antidote to this global emergency. Adopting Big Data and AI is expected to make significant contributions to unearthing possible solutions.