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Scientists created a new AI system that can detect COVID-19 in your cough

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers said they could identify COVID-19 if you cough

MIT researchers have found that people who are asymptomatic for Covid-19 may differ from healthy individuals in the way that they cough. These differences are not decipherable to the human ear. But it turns out that they can be picked up by artificial intelligence.
MIT researchers have found that people who are asymptomatic for COVID-19 may differ from healthy individuals in the way that they cough. These differences are not decipherable to the human ear. But it turns out that they can be picked up by artificial intelligence.
Christine Daniloff, MIT

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new artificial intelligence system that could identify the novel coronavirus in someone’s cough.

The researchers released their findings in a new paper published in the IEEE Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology.

  • The researchers ran 4,000 tests of people forcing themselves to cough.
  • They identified someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 in 98.5% of the tests.
  • The researchers identified 100% of cases for those who confirmed they had the virus but had no symptoms, according to the researchers.

What it means:

“We think this shows that the way you produce sound, changes when you have COVID, even if you’re asymptomatic,” co-author Brian Subirana, a research scientist at the college’s Auto-ID Laboratory, told MIT News.

“The effective implementation of this group diagnostic tool could diminish the spread of the pandemic if everyone uses it before going to a classroom, a factory, or a restaurant,” Subirana told MIT News.

What’s next:

The researchers said they hope to add the technology into an app that — if approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — could offer a “a free, convenient, noninvasive prescreening tool to identify people who are likely to be asymptomatic for COVID-19,” according to MIT News.

The best case scenario would include people opening the app, coughing into their phone and getting information about whether or not they’re positive for COVID-19.