Two Pakistani students have built up an artificial intelligence (AI) apparatus for assisting in diagnose COVID-19 amid the lack of test kits as the government ramps up efforts to combat the virus.
Mohammad Aleem who is a mechanical engineering student working on the project with his colleague Rahul Raj said that as the COVID-19 is still growing exponentially and our hospitals are already overwhelmed, we decided to turn to AI to help in speedily identifying cases in the absence of testing kits.
He said while talking to the media that the AI powered deep learning model that we have developed from scratch can help detect COVID-19 with 92 per cent confidence using computed tomography (CT) scan of lungs.
The AI detector might offer another way to help diagnose COVID-19 patients amid the shortage of testing kits and the unavailability of medical staff.
Rahul Raj explained that the detector relies on the chest CT imaging. If the CT scans are available then it would hardly take 10-20 seconds to perform the analysis and find out if the patient is COVID-19 positive. The detector not only helps save time but also reduces the engagement of experts such as a radiologist.
He further told that the automatic analysis can help identify two things. One it can confirm with 92 per cent confidence if the person has tested positive or negative for COVID-19. Secondly, based on medical imagery, it can help locate the exact position, impact and severity of the damage to the lungs.
The aim is to help doctors diagnose faster so patients can be directed to the next process (such as quarantine or isolation) without spending hours and posing the risk of cross-infection.
Since the detector relies on medical imagery, the major limitations would be the cost of CT scans in Pakistan, which is around Rs5,000-8000, as well as the inaccessibility of the diagnostic equipment.