New AI Tool Predicts Coronavirus Infection Based On Symptoms

A new report reveals that a team of researchers have managed to create an artificial intelligence diagnostic system that can predict whether someone is infected with the coronavirus based solely on their symptoms.

Team Develops AI System That Can Detect COVID-19 In People

When the coronavirus was first declared as a pandemic a few months ago by the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the moves that many health experts and researchers prioritized is mass testing for the masses since finding out just how many people are infected with the virus is an important step in helping contain it.

Usually, the test involved a nasal swab that will be used to take samples from a person and give them results within a few hours. And while effective, the truth is that the current testing kits we have are unfortunately inadequate and many still aren’t tested for the virus.

Thankfully, a team of researchers from King's College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and health science company ZOE have banded together to develop a system that can test people more efficiently and without the need for a testing kit: through an artificial intelligence (AI) diagnostic that can predict if a person has COVID-19 based on their symptoms.

With the team’s findings published in Nature Medicine, the AI system uses information and data taken from the COVID-19 Symptom Study App in order to predict infections and cases, all by comparing the results of traditional COVID tests and the symptoms that people are experiencing. Per the researchers, this new diagnostic system can be really helpful in areas and countries where access to testing is severely limited. As such, two clinical trials in both the U.S. and U.K. are scheduled to start shortly.

“Our results suggest that loss of taste or smell is a key early warning sign of COVID-19 infection and should be included in routine screening for the disease. We strongly urge governments and health authorities everywhere to make this information more widely known, and advise anyone experiencing sudden loss of smell or taste to assume that they are infected and follow local self-isolation guidelines,” Tim Spector, professor from King's College London, said.

coronavirus-testing-ap More testing is needed in the United States before the country can reopen, according to a study from Harvard Matthias Schrader/AP