Moroccans have been active in the deployment of Artificial Intelligence against COVID-19.
Rabat – The General Directorate for Research and Innovation of the European Commission organized an international networking event which spotlighted Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations by two Moroccan researchers.
The June 10 event saw the participation of researchers from all over the world. It aimed to facilitate the creation of a worldwide network to share scientific information and experiences of international teams working against COVID-19, according to a press release by the Moroccan Ministry of Education on June 15.
Among the 70 Moroccans who participated in the event, two researchers, Professor Asma El Hannani from the University of Chouaib Doukkali El Jadida, and Professor Zohra Lemkhenete from the Ibn Zohr University of Agadir, garnered particular attention and were invited to present their work.
Professor El Hanani’s work focused on the “automatic detection of covid-19 using Artificial Intelligence,” while Lemkhenete’s work concerned the “pathogenic interaction in the COVID-19 clinical and genetic study,” according to the same source.
On the same occasion, organizers invited Morocco to share its scientific research experience in the fight against COVID-19. Other participating countries included China, Japan, Australia, and Singapore.
“The Department of Higher Education and Scientific Research launched in April 2020 a program to support scientific and technological research related to COVID-19 in partnership with the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research,” revealed the release.
The partnership allocated a budget of MAD 2 million ($207,000) for the production of original scientific knowledge with “multidisciplinary approaches capable of treating all levels and all aspects of the pandemic.”
AI and scientific research
Moroccan expertise on Artificial Intelligence has already featured in the global fight against COVID-19.
Moroccan expert Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni considers AI an essential tool in managing the pandemic. She thinks that AI can help regulate the outbreak. With healthcare professionals overwhelmed, some of this technology can automatically monitor patients and conduct remote checks while advising them on appropriate care measures.
“Our goal was to design and deploy a decision-support tool using AI capabilities—mostly predictive analytics—to flag future clinical coronavirus severity,” Moroccan-born Bari said in mid-April, following the innovation’s launch.
“We hope that the tool, when fully developed, will be useful to physicians as they assess which moderately ill patients really need beds and who can safely go home, with hospital resources stretched thin,” the computer scientist added.
Emphasizing the importance of scientific research, the University of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah in Fez organized on April 28 an online conference to discuss research and innovation in human and social sciences.
The virtual meeting brought up the role the Moroccan diaspora can play in research and innovation in the field of human and social sciences, as well as encouraging and mobilizing researchers.
According to Abdellah Benhania, an international researcher and consultant in education, “the COVID-19 pandemic is setting the stage for a great shift in how developing countries such as Morocco will view scientific research in the near and far future.”