Scientists develop AI technology that detects COVID-19 through cough sounds

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Scientists developed a new artificial intelligence system they say can tell if someone has COVID-19 just by the sound of their cough.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers said the algorithm is able to detect the virus because the illness causes muscle impairment that can alter the way people speak or cough even if they are asymptomatic, the Telegraph reported.

The researchers wrote in a paper published in the IEEE Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology that they tested the new technology on 4,000 recordings of people forcing themselves to cough.

Researchers found the AI system was able to positively identify someone who had tested positive for the virus 98.5 percent of the time.

The figure rose to 100 percent among people who had been confirmed to have the virus but reported having no symptoms, researchers said.

“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 team is working on developing an app and once completed, will try to seek FDA approval to make it available to the public.

“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 the outlet.

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