May 5, 2020

Use of AI to expedite search for COVID-19 treatments, vaccines

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago are using artificial intelligence (AI) to expedite the search for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines by shortening the expert review period.

The AI tool prioritizes research that has the most potential to produce real solutions and ignores research that is unlikely to yield benefits.


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The standard human process uses the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Systematizing Confidence in Open Research and Evidence (DARPA SCORE) program, which on average takes about 314 days.

The AI model is just as accurate as the human scoring program at making predictions, and it can scale up to review a large number of papers in minutes rather than months.

The model can be used immediately to analyze COVID-19-related research papers and quickly determine which show the most promise, the researchers say.

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