Wednesday , May 25 2022

Coronavirus: The federal government should check a cough app to detect Covid-19


Green MPs accuse the federal government of not paying enough attention to innovative approaches to fighting pandemics. That’s “criminal negligence,” complained Bundestag parliamentary group chair Katrin Göring-Eckardt.

In particular, it concerns a potential app that, thanks to artificial intelligence, should be able to detect Covid 19 infection from the coughs of those affected. The process was developed by the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“The Federal Government has not yet been in direct contact with the authors or developers about this idea,” the Ministry of Health replied to a question from Green expert for AI, Anna Christmann. He asked if the government was considering using a potential app to fight a pandemic. According to the answer from the federal government, the MIT process is very likely to be a medical product that requires CE marking.

The MIT study achieves promising test results

There is no ready app for the procedure developed by MIT researchers, but the test results have been promising. The algorithm developed was able to detect patients with Covid-19 in 98.5 percent of cases based on an audio recording of their cough. Previously, the test individuals had tested positive for Covid-19. “If you have a crown, it changes the way they make sounds. Even if they don’t have symptoms, ”Brian Subirana, one of the researchers involved in a study, told the BBC.

MIT researchers had already collected more than 5000 cough recordings from people infected with corona through a website in April and May and submitted a study on the effectiveness of their method in early November. To further improve the process, the MIT researchers are also working with the Milanese hospital “Luigi Sacco” and Spain’s “Catalonian Health Institute” to gather further data.

The Greens call for a technology task force in the fight against Corona

“If artificial intelligence can detect a corona cough, it opens up entirely new opportunities for test strategies,” Christmann said. Such a procedure cannot replace the previous tests, but “can be an important addition”. The federal government is “grappling” to explore all methods “that would allow us to have milder restrictions in social life.”

The Greens therefore call for the establishment of a technology task force to systematically look for innovative approaches in the fight against Covid-19.

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