IBM’s Watson Assistant Deployed by ICMR for COVID-19 Testing Facilities


IBM and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have come together to assist the frontline workers and people involved in testing in the fight against COVID-19 by leveraging IBM’s Watson Assistant. Watson Assistant is available on ICMR’s website for the staff who are involved in sample collection and testing. India witnessed the highest ever jump in the number of cases and deaths – 3,900 new cases and 195 deaths in the last 24 hours. As the number of cases in India is growing rapidly, testing teams are also expanding. It is believed that the use of technology will enable authorities and health workers to better respond to the crisis.

Watson Assistant can be accessed on ICMR’s website by the authorised staff who are working on sample collection to get answers of specific queries regarding their work, IBM announced. The health workers can ask questions around the kind of data to collect by testing labs, the process of data collection and reporting to the authorities, latest guidelines on COVID-19, etc.

IBM’s Watson Assistant is an AI platform that can understand and respond to questions around COVID-19 in English and Hindi. It may also help in onboarding new staff of diagnostics centres. The assistant is being used in countries around the world, including the US, Poland, and India, according to IBM.

ICMR’s Director-General Balram Bhargava said that it is important to remain focused on testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 to minimise the dangers of the disease.

“With the number of on-field testing teams expanding across the nation as part of India’s COVID-19 measures, this collaboration with IBM will help automate responses from the field & facilitate access to accurate & updated data on COVID-19 diagnostics & reporting,” Bhargava said.

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