Image credits: Annie Spratt
News Article

Could Your Phone Tell If You Have COVID-19?

By Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Mon, 02/08/2021 - 08:03

Can AI diagnose COVID-19? Stanford's COVID-19 Response Innovation Lab and One Young World are leading an initiative that is looking to identify the symptoms of SARS-CoV-2, through artificial intelligence and cough sounds, reports Business Insider Mexico. Over 50 researchers from 20 different countries, from universities such as Berkeley, Oxford, Harvard and Princeton, are developing Virufy, a mobile app that is designed to diagnose COVID-19 through a user’s cough sounds. "The sounds of breathing and coughing could be analyzed with machine learning to find patterns in COVID-19," explained Virufy Founder, Amil Khanzada, to Business Insider Mexico. The app’s goal is to gather as much information as possible to train its algorithm to be more precise and to better understand what COVID-19 sounds like.

"This is the first worldwide organization that has this many students trying to find a possible digital tool for an easier COVID-19 diagnosis,” explained Carlos Madrigal, in an interview with Forbes Mexico. Madrigal explained to Forbes that the platform’s objective is to identify variations in coughs between people testing positive and negative to COVID-19, believing the lung damage caused by the virus could alter the way coughs sound. However, he mentions that “this app does not pretend to be the sole method to diagnose COVID-19 but a way to detect how necessary it is for a person to get properly tested or not.” Khanzada called on people from countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Peru exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms to visit Virufy’s website to donate a couch sample through an audio message to improve the program and to put an end to the pandemic, reports Business Insider Mexico.

Virufy is only one of the attempts made to use technology as a way to track or diagnose COVID-19. Last year, the Mexico City government created a tracking system for people to know if they had been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, as previously reported by MBN. Other apps that have been created for contact tracing in Mexico include:

  • DENUE, an app developed by INEGI that shows COVID-19 information on different maps.
  • Sickweather, which works both in Mexico and the US as social media and focuses on tracing places that people presenting symptoms for any disease, not just COVID-19, have visited to update the app and let other users know if they have been exposed.
The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Forbes Mexico, Business Insider Mexico
Photo by:   Annie Spratt, Unsplash
Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst