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Artificial intelligence helping Vancouver researchers diagnose COVID-19

Last Updated Jun 2, 2020 at 11:38 am PST

(iStock Photo)

Simon Fraser University and Providence Health Care are working on the artificial intelligence tool

Researchers say it will help healthcare professionals make faster decisions in high-pressure situations

They caution that it’s not a replacement for other kinds of testing

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Researchers are bringing a futuristic tool into the arsenal against COVID-19: artificial intelligence busily analyzing chest x-rays.

Simon Fraser University and Providence Health Care write that they’ve teamed up to test a system that would analyze images of a patient’s chest, and help medical professionals determine if their pneumonia is related to COVID-19.

The computer, which is currently being tested at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, spent time analyzing numerous x-ray images to begin learning what data points would tend to indicate COVID-19, or potentially other upper respiratory issues.

“The diagnostic tool is designed to help doctors and other front line healthcare workers make quick decisions as they grapple with an increased number of patients,” the university writes in a release.

However, researchers caution that it’s not a standalone testing system, and that other avenues like swab testing and advanced medical imaging still needed to detect the virus.

If the tool is approved, the university writes that it would be made available for free. Approvals and testing are ongoing, and there was no indication when it might receive approval for wider use.