Scientists develop Covid diagnosis test using X-rays, say it's 98% accurate

The researchers from University of West Scotland say that the new technique to test the presence of Covid-19 infection gives results in minutes. It runs an algorithm using an artificial intelligence system to determine whether a person has Covid-19.
Healthcare workers process Covid-19 test at a government department in Srinagar.(PTI File Photo)
Healthcare workers process Covid-19 test at a government department in Srinagar.(PTI File Photo)
Published on Jan 20, 2022 07:53 AM IST
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By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A group of scientists in Scotland has found a way to detect the presence of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection in a person using X-rays. The diagnosis test uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the presence of the virus inside a person.

The scientists from University of West Scotland (UWS), who developed the test, claim it is 98 per cent effective.

Also Read | Why symptom link is key to Omicron

They also said that it will be faster than the PCR test, which takes to hours to return a result.

“There has long been a need for a quick and reliable tool that can detect Covid-19, and this has become even more true with the upswing of the Omicron variant,” said Professor Naeem Ramzan, who led the three-person team at the UWS.

How the test works?

According to UWS researchers, the new technique utilises X-ray technology to compare scans to a database of around 3,000 images, belonging to patients with Covid-19, healthy individuals and those with viral pneumonia.

An AI process, known as the deep convolutional neural network, then uses an algorithm to analyse visual imagery and make a diagnosis. During an extensive testing phase, the technique proved to be more than 98 per cent accurate, said UWS scientists.

What is the utility of the new testing technique?

Professor Ramzan said that there are many countries are unable to carry out large numbers of Covid tests because of limited diagnosis tools. Their research utilises easily accessible technology to quickly detect the virus.

“It could prove to be crucial, and potentially life-saving, when diagnosing severe cases of the virus, helping determine what treatment may be required,” said the professor.

He, however, acknowledged that Covid-19 symptoms are not visible in X-rays during the early stages of infection so it cannot fully replace the PCR tests.

Also Read | Endemic Covid would not mean end of danger, says WHO

Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Vice-Principal of Research, Innovation and Engagement at UWS and another member of the team said they now plan to expand the study.

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