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Nation's tech firms help fight epidemic globally

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-24 09:39

A staff member displays a real-time epidemic data system on March 20. [Photo by Zou Hong/ China Daily]

Technology companies from China, including Huawei Technologies Co, are leveraging their technological prowess to help foreign nations in the global battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, as confirmed cases of the deadly virus rise overseas.

For instance, Huawei Cloud, the cloud computing unit of the Chinese tech major, and artificial intelligence company Huiying Medical Technology Co Ltd are offering AI-enabled auxiliary diagnostic systems to hospitals in Ecuador.

Otto Sonnenholzner, vice-president of Ecuador, said in a post on a social media platform on Sunday that thanks to the support of Huawei Cloud, Ecuador has become the first country in Latin America to have an AI-enabled auxiliary diagnostic system in two local hospitals.

Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei Cloud, said: "The AI-enabled system can help doctors make faster, more accurate decisions on whether patients are infected with the virus."

According to the company, it took only 14 hours for Huawei and Huiying to connect the AI-enabled system to a hospital in Ecuador. Hospitals in dozens of countries are contacting Huawei Cloud for possible cooperation to use the AI-enabled auxiliary diagnostic systems.

AI-medical imaging evaluation system has already played an active part in China's efforts to control the outbreak.

Shi Yuxin, deputy head of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, said in an earlier interview that computerized tomography (CT) imaging is an important reference for the diagnosis and treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia.

AI-enabled systems can help classify the pneumonia caused by the virus according to its severity, and calculate the burden on lungs. Traditional quantitative analysis performed by humans usually requires up to six hours. But AI system is able to perform the same task within a minute, Shi said.

Apart from Huawei, several other Chinese tech firms have also played a part in the global fight against the epidemic. The Hangzhou-based digital health company WeDoctor has launched an international traditional Chinese medicine epidemic prevention and control platform by partnering with the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies.

Integrating WeDoctor's internet healthcare structure and the federation's TCM medical resources, the platform aims to promote online consultation services to better serve people overseas.

Over 100,000 doctors at Baidu Health, a direct aid service platform integrating massive professional medical care institutions in China, provide 24-hour services for people including overseas Chinese in hard-hit countries.

Another internet platform JD Health has also launched a global free health consultation platform, bringing together a number of experts and doctors who have rich anti-epidemic experience, including 30 experts of traditional Chinese medicine.

JD Health also offers consultation services in English to provide medical help for foreigners.

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