Scientists Develop New Covid Diagnosis Using AI-Based X-Rays, Could Replace PCR Tests

COVID, COVID19, Omicron
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Scientists have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Covid diagnosis test using X-rays that are able to give a result within minutes and are 98 per cent accurate.

Experts at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) pioneered the AI programme to help healthcare staff during times ‘when PCR tests are not readily available’. The programme is able to detect the virus faster than a PCR test – which typically takes around two hours to return a result.

Professor Naeem Ramzan, Director of the Affective and Human Computing for SMART Environments Research Centre at UWS, led the three-person team behind the project, which also involved Gabriel Okolo and Dr Stamos Katsigiannis.

He said, “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.”

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What does it work?

X-ray technology is used to compare the scans to a database of close to 3,000 images belonging to patients suffering from Covid, healthy individuals and patients with viral pneumonia. Subsequently, an AI process then uses an algorithm to analyse visual imagery and make a diagnosis.

However, Covid-19 symptoms are not visible in x-rays during the early stages of infection, so it is important to note that the technology cannot fully replace PCR tests, the lead scientist added.

He further said the technology could prove to be crucial, and potentially life-saving, when diagnosing severe cases of the virus, helping determine what treatment may be required.

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