Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Could Enhance Scientific Peer Review of COVID-19 Papers

Scientists have prompt that that synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (MK) have the potential to assist researchers, clinicians and policymakers to maintain up with the huge quantity of COVID-related data that’s being launched and separate the wheat from the chaff.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to brush internationally, researchers have printed a whole bunch of papers every week reporting their findings, lots of which haven’t undergone an intensive peer evaluate course of to gauge their reliability. In some circumstances, poorly validated analysis has massively influenced public coverage, as when a French staff reported COVID sufferers had been cured by a mixture of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. The declare was extensively publicized, and shortly US sufferers had been prescribed these medication beneath an emergency use authorization. However, additional analysis involving bigger numbers of sufferers forged critical doubts on these claims.

Tudor Oprea, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences and chief of the Division of Translational Informatics on the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM, USA), notes that the sense of urgency to develop a vaccine and devise efficient therapies for the coronavirus has led many scientists to bypass the normal peer evaluate course of by publishing “preprints” – preliminary variations of their work – on-line. While that permits fast dissemination of recent findings, dangerous data could lead scientists and clinicians to waste money and time chasing blind leads.

In a commentary printed in Nature Biotechnology, Oprea and his colleagues, lots of whom work at AI corporations, have prompt that AI and ML can harness large computing energy to test lots of the claims which might be being made in a analysis paper. Since the COVID epidemic took maintain, Oprea himself has used superior computational strategies to assist determine current medication with potential antiviral exercise, culled from a library of 1000’s of candidates.

“I think there is tremendous potential there,” mentioned Oprea. “I think we are on the cusp of developing tools that will assist with the peer review process.”

Although the instruments should not totally developed, “We’re getting really, really close to enabling automated systems to digest tons of publications and look for discrepancies,” he says. “I am not aware of any such system that is currently in place, but we’re suggesting with adequate funding this can become available.”

Text mining, through which a pc combs by thousands and thousands of pages of textual content searching for specified patterns, has already been “tremendously helpful,” added Oprea. “We’re making progress in that.”

“We’re not saying we have a cure for peer review deficiency, but we are saying that that a cure is within reach, and we can improve the way the system is currently implemented,” he says. “As soon as next year we may be able to process a lot of these data and serve as additional resources to support the peer review process.”

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University of New Mexico


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