New Delhi: A new Covid-19 diagnosis test based on X-rays that is capable of giving accurate results within a few minutes has been developed by Scottish researchers.
The X-rays-based test can likely replace RT-PCR tests being used currently for detecting Covid infections, a report in Daily Mail said. The RT-PCR is an extremely sensitive test and continues to be the gold standard for detecting coronavirus.
The technology, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the presence of the virus inside a person, has been developed by researchers at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).
The researchers said the test was able to detect the virus faster than a PCR test, which typically takes around two hours to return a result. Furthermore, scientists claimed the test is 98 per cent effective.
The technology can be a boon for countries where PCR tests are not readily available.
How The X-Ray-Based Covid Test Works?
The test uses X-ray technology to compare the scans to a database of close to 3,000 images belonging to patients with Covid-19, healthy people and others with viral pneumonia.
An AI process then uses an algorithm, known as deep convolutional neural network, to analyze visual imagery and make a diagnosis.
During testing, the technique proved to be more than 98 per cent accurate, the researchers said.
“There has long been a need for a quick and reliable tool that can detect Covid-19, and this has become even more true with the upswing of the Omicron variant,” Daily Mail quoted Professor Naeem Ramzan, Director of the Affective and Human Computing for SMART Environments Research Center at UWS, as saying.
“Several countries are unable to carry out large numbers of Covid tests because of limited diagnosis tools, but this technique utilizes easily accessible technology to quickly detect the virus. Covid-19 symptoms are not visible in X-rays during the early stages of infection, so it is important to note that the technology cannot fully replace PCR tests,” Professor Ramzan said.
The X-rays can prove to be crucial, and potentially life-saving, when diagnosing severe Covid-19 cases, helping determine what treatment may be required.
The researchers now plan to expand the study and incorporate a greater database of X-ray images acquired by different models of X-ray machines, to evaluate the suitability of the approach in a clinical setting.
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