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Tech Company Predicted Coronavirus Using AI

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The coronavirus has become a hot topic of discussion in the last two months. While public health officials have been investigating the disease, a tech firm recently predicted the outbreak on December 31, 2019. This is days before the CDC and WHO released official statements. The company, known as BlueDot, utilized an AI system that “combs through animal and plant disease networks” and mined government documents to inform their clients about danger zones including Wuhan. BlueDot additionally analyzed airline ticket data and news reports in different languages to predict the spread of the virus. CEO of BlueDot Kamran Khan notes that the goal of using AI and machine learning is to spread information to healthcare workers as fast as possible in an effort to diagnost, treat, and monitor diseases better. What do you think about the role of AI in disease prediction? Let us know in the comments. 

To learn more, please visit:

  1. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/this-tech-firm-used-ai-machine-learning-to-predict-coronavirus-outbreak-warned-people-about-danger-zones/articleshow/73697801.cms
  2. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/28/21110902/artificial-intelligence-ai-coronavirus-wuhan

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Gray Hair and Stress?

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Scientists have discovered the mechanism that links gray hair to stress. Researchers demonstrated that stress induces the fight-or-flight responses in our bodies that causes the pigment of our hair to decrease. Ya Chieh Hsu, a stem cell biologist from Harvard, studied mice and injected them with a compound known as capsaicin, which is present in chili peppers, to increase the stress levels of the mice. The scientists attributed the loss of melanocytes caused by stress to gray hair. Located in the hair follicles, melanocytes color hair by converting into pigment-producing cells. The body cannot replenish this source of cells. The mechanism for the hair turning gray is that stress triggers the release of norepinephrine, which leads to an excessive release of pigment-producing cells. This rapidly depletes the melanocyte cell supply and causes hair to turn gray as a result. 

To learn more, please visit the following link: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-stress-turns-hair-gray-triggers-body-fight-flight-response

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Coronavirus Updates from Around the World

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Check out this map for the coronavirus for the number of deaths and cases throughout the world. The data used in this map is from: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

  • The World Health Organization developed a new name for the virus: COVID-19
  • Recently, there has been an outbreak on the Diamond Princess Ship, which is a luxury cruise ship in Japan. 175 people have contracted the disease. Testing and other forms of surveillance have begun by public health officials. Those who have tested positive have been sent to hospitals or have been quarantined. 
  • A Hong Kong apartment building is being investigated as a potential cause for the COVID-19’s airborne transmission. A 62 year old lady who lived 10 stories under the 12th confirmed case in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus. A professor from the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Microbiology stated that many of the vents might not have been properly blocked, allowing the virus to spread through the vents. 
  • First confirmed case in San Antonio, Texas. The individual was part of a group that flew from the Hubei province in China to the San Antonio Air Force Base. 
  • While the coronavirus has been curbed in China, officials state cannot predict a definitive end to the outbreak. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/12/watch-world-health-organization-provides-an-update-on-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
  2. https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/02/175-now-infected-with-coronavirus-on-cruise-ship-including-quarantine-officer/
  3. https://www.hongkongfp.com/2020/02/11/hong-kong-authorities-evacuate-tsing-yi-estate-flats-second-resident-diagnosed-coronavirus/
  4. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/02/13/coronavirus-texas-case-confirmed-san-antonio-cdc-says/
  5. https://www.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-02-12-20-intl-hnk/index.html
  6. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

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What You Need to Know about the Coronavirus

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Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Late December of 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China that were linked with an unknown virus. This new virus was later identified in early January 2020 as a new strain of the coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold and is linked with respiratory illnesses. This new strain was named 2019-nCoV and its symptoms include fever, coughing, and respiratory problems. More serious cases can cause pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure, and death. Since this is a new strain of the coronavirus, health officials are on high alert, as not much is known about this virus. Health officials will need to start from scratch on a vaccine, which could take years to complete. According to the Center for Disease Control, this new strain circulated among animals, including camels, cats, and bats and may have been spread to humans through China’s exotic animal market.  Early Tuesday morning, Chinese health officials reported that the death toll has risen to over 100 people with over 6,000 infected people in mainland China. In efforts to restrict the spread of the virus, China has restricted travel to over 20 cities, affecting over 56 million people, and increased the amount of screening stations at bus and subway stations.

 The 2019-nCoV has also spread to over 20 countries worldwide, with five confirmed cases in the United States. The U.S. government has increased screenings at over 20 airports with each of these airports having quarantine facilities. Vice President, Mike Pence, further elaborated on these screenings stating that the 20 airports involved are “the airports that receive 90 percent of all passengers from China.” Currently, there are two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Southern California, one in Los Angeles and the other in Orange County. Both of these patients were confirmed to have traveled to Wuhan and are currently being quarantined in hospitals for further monitoring. According to the OC Public Health, if you have not been to Wuhan, China or been in contact with someone who has traveled there, then the risk of infection is very low.

Nevertheless, taking precautions to reduce the chance of infection is crucial. The World Health Organization advises to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand rubs. As mentioned before, due to the 2019-nCoV circulating among animals, practicing food safety is important. This can include avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, washing your hands after handling raw meats, and prohibiting cross contamination between raw and cooked foods. If you believe you are sick, it is important to avoid contact with others. You can do this by covering sneezes and coughs with tissues or flexed elbow and seeking early medical care with healthcare professionals.

Sources: 

  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  2. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/china-coronavirus-500-words-200127065154334.html?fbclid=IwAR1ofRZyzzKExS-WXmTllT_PIXB4qpeBDqMyflbZDzSeVPqaEJgluNOykjw
  3. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-25/los-angeles-area-prepared-for-coronavirus
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/coronavirus-china-latest-updates/2020/01/27/3634db9a-40a7-11ea-aa6a-083d01b3ed18_story.html?fbclid=IwAR3A-qmCVO38nSaXa-MQGp5JI__ZbgF6aDdMHUPb7-1bMlImgsu7WlUkh9E
  5. https://www.ocregister.com/2020/01/26/coronavirus-patients-confirmed-in-los-angeles-and-orange-counties/?fbclid=IwAR0zkSnpyyvgWMkoiZNhUMZSVX75m6m8uhWrx53GrnhBVzx3IfsZ8yTI5xA
  6. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

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