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Novel AI tool to help assess Covid severity

Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that is capable of assessing the severity of Covid-19 cases with a promising degree of accuracy.

The researchers from the University of Waterloo and Alexander Wong, a systems design engineering professor and co-founder of software company DarwinAI, said the technology could give doctors an important tool to help them manage cases.

“Assessing the severity of a patient with Covid-19 is a critical step in the clinical workflow for determining the best course of action for treatment and care, be it admitting the patient to ICU, giving a patient oxygen therapy, or putting a patient on a mechanical ventilator,” Wong said.

For the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, deep-learning AI was trained to analyze the extent and opacity of infection in the lungs of Covid-19 patients based on chest x-rays.

Its scores were then compared to assessments of the same x-rays by expert radiologists, the team said.

For both extent and opacity, important indicators of the severity of infections, predictions made by the AI software were in good alignment with scores provided by the human experts.

“The promising results in this study show that AI has a strong potential to be an effective tool for supporting frontline healthcare workers in their decisions and improving clinical efficiency,” Wong added.

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