Australian AI technology designed for breast cancer patients adapted to diagnose COVID 19 patients

The University of Sydney-affiliated start-up DetectED-X developed an artificial intelligence-based diagnosis tool that was originally targeted to improve the accuracy of breast cancer detection has now been quickly getting adapted by researchers to identify coronavirus by analyzing CT scans of patients from Australia and Europe.

The name of this AI-based system is CovED. CEO & medical radiation expert Brennan said the technology would allow people to interpret lung scans to have each diagnosis reviewed for accuracy in real-time.

The company said that the computer checks the scan and the diagnosis to see if the patient has the disease or not, the system can return results in as little as one hour.

“The number of patients that are suffering from this life-threatening illness is fast outpacing the number of skilled staff required to accurately diagnose the required lung CT scans,” Prof. Brennan said.

“It will help people get familiar with what they should be looking for in people who might have COVID-19,” Brennan said. The technology is being supplied free of charge to any medical facility in the world that wants it.

“Every health worker everywhere will get it for free, so it can be accessed by people who don’t have expertise in understanding lung CT scans,” Professor Brennan said.

Prof. Brennan said the technology would be particularly valuable in developing countries that lack radiologists. The CovED platform, which can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, is being provided free and is being supported by healthcare experts and multinational corporations.

Helen Frazer, Adjunct Associate Professor at St Vincent’s Hospital, said the technology had proven very useful in improving diagnosis rates for breast cancer.”What it gives you is instant feedback on your performance,” she said.

She said it could be useful in testing patients where they had a negative nose or throat swab, to pick up any early changes in their chest.

“It will be a great resource to train people, as we see people’s performance improve as they use the technology,” she said.

A spokesman for the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Radiologists said CT scans were often used in patients who were showing complications from COVID-19 or who might have conditions like emphysema.

Professor Brennan said people with COVID-19 often had lungs with a grey and hazy appearance, with consolidated white patches at the periphery of both lungs.

“It will allow people to be trained to review these images, even if they are not an expert, which means more rapid diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

“Ultimately it will save lives.”

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