AI visualization maps how SARS-CoV-2 spreads

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

March 12, 2020 -- Artificial intelligence (AI) developer Graphen has published a visual analysis that demonstrates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 across the world during the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19
COVID-19's virus genomic evolution pathway (March 10, 2020). Image courtesy of Graphen.

To develop the map, the company analyzed variants from whole-genome sequences from over 30 countries. The goal of the project was to identify mutations in the coronavirus as it spread. With network science software analytics, the company visualized how the virus propagated, mutated, and spread throughout the world. Graphen is publishing daily updates as more data are analyzed.

Organizing the data in this visualized manner will help researchers identify targets for drug development and epidemiological spread or predict how harmful variants of the virus will be compared with the original. For instance, Graphen's analysis revealed two superspreaders of COVID-19 from a confirmed cased on January 5, 2020, in Wuhan, China, and a second confirmed case on January 24, 2020, in the country.

"We are continuously working with new data to show inductive analyses and more visualization as well as cross-media information as the virus propagates. What we have now can already provide researchers with references for clinical treatment, medicine and vaccine development," said Ching-Yung Lin, PhD, founder and CEO of Graphen, in a statement. "Finding out the relationship between the sequence changes and the disease epidemic development is very helpful for subsequent prevention and control. This is an example of the future of AI-powered precision medicine."

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