Artificial Intelligence is Helping Doctors Track the Coronavirus

Coronavirus fears are spreading, but it’s opening up options for disruptive technology to show its stuff in the wake of the outbreak. A team in Boston Children’s Hospital is implementing machine learning to sift through copious amounts of online news, including social posts, news reports, data from official public health channels and information supplied by doctors to track the coronavirus.

“There’s incredible data that’s locked away in various tools like online news sites, social media, crowdsourcing, data sources, that you wouldn’t think of that would be used for public health,” said Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. “But actually they have incredible amounts of information that you wouldn’t find in any sort of traditional government system.”

“Whether it’s social media, online news reports, blogs, chat rooms — we’re looking for clues about symptoms, reports of disease, that tell us something unique is happening,” said Brownstein.

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Healthcare ETF Opportunities

ETF investors can look for opportunities in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT) and the iShares US Medical Devices ETF (IHI).

XLV seeks investment results that correspond generally to the Health Care Select Sector Index. The index includes companies from the following industries: pharmaceuticals; health care equipment & supplies; health care providers & services; biotechnology; life sciences tools & services; and health care technology.

VHT employs an indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Index (IMI)/Health Care 25/50, an index made up of stocks of large, mid-size, and small U.S. companies within the health care sector, as classified under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS).

IHI seeks to track the investment results of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Medical Equipment Index composed of U.S. equities in the medical devices sector. The underlying index includes medical equipment companies, including manufacturers and distributors of medical devices such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, prosthetics, pacemakers, X-ray machines, and other non-disposable medical devices.

Even with the coronavirus outbreak, healthcare indexes like the MSCI ACWI Health Care Net Total Return index have been on the upswing:


^MSACHCNTR data by YCharts

A Healthcare ETF with a Dose of Disruption

Another fund to consider is the Robo Global Healthcare Technology and Innovation ETF (HTEC). HTEC seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the ROBO Global Healthcare Technology and Innovation Index.

The fund will normally invest at least 80 percent of its total assets in securities of the index or in depositary receipts representing securities of the index. The index is designed to measure the performance of companies that have a portion of their business and revenue derived from the field of healthcare technology, and the potential to grow within this space through innovation and market adoption of such companies, products and services.

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