MIT Team’s Cough Detector Identifies 97% of COVID-19 Cases Even in Asymptomatic People

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Part of the challenge in controlling the coronavirus pandemic is in identifying and isolating infected people quickly – not particularly easy when COVID-19 symptoms aren’t always noticeable, especially early on. Now scientists have developed a new artificial intelligence model that can detect the virus from a simple forced cough.

Evidence shows that the AI can spot differences in coughing that can’t be heard with the human ear, and if the detection system can be incorporated into a device like a smartphone, the research team thinks it could become a useful early screening tool.

The work builds on research that was already happening into Alzheimer’s detection through coughing and talking. Once the pandemic started to spread, the team turned its attention to COVID-19 instead, tapping into what had already been learned about how disease can cause very small changes to speech and the other noises we make.