In this episode, Ayesha talks about Google’s new AI-based dermatology tool designed to help people identify and research conditions of the skin, hair and nails. The tool involves downloading an app on your phone and using its camera to take images of the affected area(s). These images, along with information about things like symptoms and skin type, are used to offer a list of possible matching conditions by linking to a database of 288 conditions that includes verified, peer-reviewed information. While not a diagnostic tool, the team discussed how it could help users get more reliable and targeted information about skin conditions compared to a random internet search, which could help relieve some anxiety until they see a doctor.
The group also discussed the WHO’s calls for renewed investigations into the origins of the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus. The calls come after a recent US Intelligence report identified three researchers at a virology institute studying bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China who became sick and were hospitalized in November 2019. This has led to speculation that the novel coronavirus may have been accidentally released through a lab leak. Details of the intelligence report has prompted the WHO and other world leaders to call for an investigation into the lab leak origin theory, which is causing divides politically and within the scientific community. The team talked about how the meddling of politics in science continues to be harmful during the pandemic.
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