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Hopkins Uses AI To Develop A Bot That Answers Questions About The COVID-19 Vaccine

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Johns Hopkins is using artificial intelligence to answer your questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

The Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering developed the Vaccine Information Resource Assistant, or "VIRA," chatbot for anyone to access trustworthy, accurate and up-to-date information.

"You can ask a question just as you would ask a friend," explained Smisha Agarwal, a professor who teaches digital health.

The site allows you to type questions into a chat and AI will respond back.

VIRA was created during rapidly changing guidelines around COVID-19 vaccines, and responses are continuously updated.

"It provides the pulse of the community. If the community has a concern through VIRA, if they ask VIRA, we're able to look at that question and respond."

According to Agarwal, VIRA was developed with the hope of countering misinformation.

"What shame, stigma and judgement do is hinder open conversations," said Agarwal. "What we're hoping VIRA provides is just a space where we can take all of that research, all of that knowledge and evidence and channel it toward information in a way that is accessible for everybody."

VIRA chatbot is also available on WhatsApp in English and Spanish. The number to connect to chatbot is 1-410-401-0306.

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