Alibaba Group invites European healthcare systems to use the cloud-based coronavirus diagnostic tool, which the company says has been successfully tested in Chinese hospitals.
Alibaba has sent machine learning software for chest scanning to health officials in France and Italy.
The Alibaba initiative was voiced against the background of the general revitalization of China’s high-tech companies in Europe, where Asian firms, among other things, offer tools for diagnosing and analyzing viruses. Telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies said it offers Italian hospitals video conferencing and wireless connectivity. The Internet search engine Baidu offers an algorithm for analyzing the biological structure of the virus.
Epicenter of the virus
Europe is becoming the epicenter of the virus. At this time, multidirectional trends can be observed – Beijing’s efforts to help Europe fight the outbreak of the coronavirus are taking place against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s attempt to distance itself from the region.
“Alibaba and other private companies have been included in the long-term plan by the Chinese government: to demonstrate their ability to be an ally of Europe and hint that the US is not in a position to help them”Antoine Bondaz, a researcher at the Strategic Research Foundation in Paris.
France will not refuse the proposed assistance, and if Alibaba wants to contribute to research and diagnostics, then the Chinese company may be allowed to do this, said one of the French government officials who wished to remain anonymous.
The Ministry of Health said it did not receive a formal offer from Alibaba, adding that “the equipment has not been tested.” A diagnostic tool is also considered expensive and difficult to master.
The software can diagnose the COVID-19 virus quickly and with 96% accuracy
Alibaba, which is expanding its European presence in payments and retail, claims its software developed at Damo Research Center can diagnose the COVID-19 virus quickly and with 96% accuracy. The company claims to have tested the product in China on 5,000 patients.
Artificial intelligence scanning is increasingly used in hospitals, and companies like Alphabet Inc. Google has developed data mining solutions to help doctors diagnose diseases like cancer.
In Europe, so far no private company and no research laboratory have offered a broad diagnostic solution. Atos SE, a large data and cybersecurity company, has offered computing capabilities for reproducing and modeling the three-dimensional atomic structure of the virus to laboratories in Spain and France.
In the US, the medical division of Alphabet Inc. Verily tested about 20 people on the first day of a virus test on Tuesday in California. Verily is a questionnaire-based diagnostic tool. Patients answer questions to determine if they need testing for coronavirus, and then are redirected, when necessary, to two testing points where another sample is taken.
Meanwhile, in Italy, Huawei donated protective suits and 200,000 masks to hospitals in Milan. Thomas Miao, chief executive officer of Huawei Italy, said the company also offered wireless networking equipment to some 10 temporary hospitals, and said the company was working with partners to create a video conferencing platform for real-time communication between hospitals.
Alibaba on Friday sent two million masks to the continent via Belgium.
Diagnosis in about 10 seconds
It was previously reported that China is developing a database of technologies that can be used to combat the new coronavirus. Officials have already listed more than 2,000 new technologies and their suppliers, from automatic temperature determination to diagnostics and hospital information systems.
The ministry plans to expand the use of technology in hospitals and territories that were at the center of the outbreak of viral infection, as well as in companies that are currently managing the consequences of a nearly two-month quarantine.
The use of artificial intelligence and other technologies has skyrocketed as China connects to stand-alone solutions ranging from robotic cleaners to voice assistants to help contain a rapidly spreading virus.
Chinese company Yitu Technology, a telecommunications provider with Huawei Technologies, and the Alibaba Group have offered artificial intelligence services to analyze computerized axial tomography (CAT), used in hospitals to diagnose patients with suspected coronavirus.
The Chinese Tianhe-1 supercomputer helps with the processing of computed tomography images, which allows you to make a diagnosis in about 10 seconds, according to the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, where this device is installed. According to one of the center’s employees, the accuracy of the system, which is available to doctors around the world, is more than 80%, and every day this indicator is growing steadily.