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Pandemic Creates Huge Demand for Artificial Intelligence

Especially in times of crisis, technology can be the catalyst for much-needed change. The vendors that enable the Global Networked Economy have become essential to all forward-looking leaders that seek innovation as a tool to uncover new solutions to significant challenges.

Medical-related industries have discovered their New Normal. The Coronavirus outbreak has proven that healthcare institutions can no longer ignore the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their daily workflow. And, cognitive systems are essential components of their solutions to the current crisis.

AI systems infrastructure spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next 5 years, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research.

Medical AI Apps Market Development

"Artificial Intelligence is playing a key role in responding to the pandemic," said Lian Jye Su, principal analyst at ABI Research.

Several companies, including Alibaba, YITU, Graphen, and Google DeepMind, are already developing AI tools to help detect the virus, diagnose its evolution, track its geographical footprint, project its future, and even predict its potential protein structure to find a vaccine for it.

Aside from viral detection, AI will be adopted in the field of bioinformatics, where the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) sequence of COVID-19 can be thoroughly analyzed to develop the right antiviral drugs.

"Now, no single drug can combat the virus effectively. In order to get ahead of the ever-evolving virus and to save as many lives as possible, new drug discovery, development, and testing processes need to be set up, as the conventional method is no longer suitable," Su explains.

Tools from established companies like Google DeepMind, startups like Graphen, and AI chipsets from vendors like NVIDIA and Intel will help accelerate the speed of drug discovery, development, and testing, allowing pharmaceutical companies and healthcare authorities to combat the pandemic.

Pharmaceutical companies and healthcare authorities will take lessons from the current chaotic situation, and anticipate universal programs and frameworks to better manage pandemic situations, predict the emergence and the spread of viruses, and, most importantly, find a cure for them in a timely fashion.

The situation will encourage healthcare agencies, pharmaceutical vendors, and webscale companies to enhance their Research and Development (R&D) investments in AI as a core technology for enabling these initiatives.

Outlook for Drug Development via AI Applications

ABI Research determined that global research and development (R&D) expenditures for the pharmaceutical industry are estimated to be between $180 billion and $195 billion in 2022.

Moreover, AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase rapidly as more developed nations seek lasting solutions to the growing economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

According to the assessment by ABI, the upside potential is huge. "The pharmaceutical industry is a significant market that AI hardware and software vendors should target," Su advises.

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