Detecting Covid from the sound of the cough

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 17, 2020

Wadhwani Institute designs AI tool ‘Cough against Covid’,

The Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence has secured a provisional patent in the US for its AI-based tool, “Cough against Covid”, the Institute announced on Tuesday.

The tool uses artificial intelligence to screen for Covid-19 based on cough sounds.

If effective, the tool could be a breakthrough in testing for the infection.

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Dr Rahul Panicker, Chief Research and Innovation Officer, Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence, said, “Testing for Covid-19 has been a major challenge since the start of the pandemic. This prompted us to think about how we could use AI to develop a non-invasive Covid-19 testing tool that was affordable and accessible to a large population. After months of hard work, we are proud to present our patented Cough against Covid AI tool that can identify both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.”

“We believe it will help healthcare and civic authorities speed up testing and also focus their resources better, by filtering out patients with Covid-19-like symptoms but without the infection. We will continue to work towards making it accessible to those who need it most. We also plan to share our research widely so that people around the world can benefit from the tool,” he added.

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Instant results

The tool can identify asymptomatic individuals as well. The results are instantaneous. It works on a basic smartphone and does not require an app, special device or trained personnel, the Institute said.

“Having achieved a balance between high sensitivity and low specificity, Wadhwani’s AI tool can be used as a Covid-19 triaging tool. It is expected that the tool can increase the testing capacity of a healthcare system by 43 per cent without additional supplies, trained personnel, or physical infrastructure (at assumed disease prevalence of 5 per cent),” the institute said.

The research behind the tool will be shared on a preprint server for feedback on September 18.

Published on September 16, 2020

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