App claims to detect Covid with 92% accuracy by hearing sound of cough

Australian scientists have developed a novel app that can detect Covid-19 infection by just the sound of a cough.

London, April 21 : Australian scientists have developed a novel app that can detect Covid-19 infection by just the sound of a cough.

The app, called ResApp, which uses machine learning to analyse the sounds of cough, could detect Covid with 92 per cent accuracy, Daily Mail reported.

ResApp was developed by professor Udantha Abeyratne at the University of Queensland. US drug major Pfizer has recently offered $100 million to acquire the Brisbane-based company.

“The sheer scale of this global pandemic and the likely evolution to an endemic disease means we need more scalable diagnostic tools that can balance our current over-reliance on rapid antigen and PCR tests,” Professor Catherine Bennett, a member of ResApp’s Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Board, was quoted as saying.

“By rapidly ruling out Covid-19, ResApp’s Covid-19 test would significantly reduce the number of rapid antigen and PCR tests required, while still maintaining the disease surveillance needed to manage the continued impact of Covid-19,” she added.

The app was tested on 741 patients in the US and India, including 446 with Covid-19, the report said.

The participants completed surveys on any symptoms they were experiencing, and coughed into a smartphone with the app installed.

The results revealed that the app was able to correctly detect Covid-19 in 92 per cent of people with the infection, compared to lateral flow tests that can detect around 72 per cent of symptomatic cases and 58 per cent of asymptomatic ones.

Further, the team tested the app with coughs from 1,007 patients with other respiratory conditions, including asthma, pneumonia and respiratory tract infections, to understand whether the app is specific to only Covid.

The results revealed that the app could accurately detect Covid-19 with 90 per cent specificity.

According to the company, the app will initially be used in settings like travel, sports, entertainment, and healthcare, where frequent Covid-19 testing is required.

“We are very excited about these preliminary results for detecting Covid-19 using cough audio recorded on a smartphone,” Tony Keating, CEO and Managing Director of ResApp was quoted as saying.

“These algorithms offer a unique opportunity to provide a rule out screening test for Covid-19 at scale across the world, reducing the distribution challenge, the cost and the environmental impact of rapid antigen and PCR testing,” he added.

Keating said the company aims to accelerate commercialisation by immediately engaging with regulators globally.

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