Dutch health technology firms use AI to spot coronavirus on X-rays

Image: Delft Imaging
Image: Delft Imaging

Dutch sister companies Thirona and Delft Imaging, which specialise in tuberculosis screening, have adapted their X-ray based AI technology to look for lung damage associated with coronavirus.

The system, CAD4COVID, generates a score between 0 and 100 indicating the extent of coronavirus related abnormalities and displaying them through a heat map.

Delft Imaging has been using AI to identify tuberculosis for 10 years and the system is used worldwide, particularly in low resource countries, chief executive Guido Geerts said. ‘We trained the algorithm again to look for specific signs in the lung that point to Covid-19.’

Data sets used to train the algorithm come from all over Europe, with many from Italy and Spain, as well as the Netherlands, he said.

Low resource

‘Many of the measures implemented across Europe and the United States [to control coronavirus] will be difficult to replicate in Africa,’ Geerts said.

‘How can you quarantine in a small household full of people? How do you ‘stock-up’ when you live day-to-day?,’ he said.

‘We wanted to leverage our expertise and experience in artificial intelligence to support the fight against Covid-19. That is also why we decided to make CAD4COVID available free-of-charge; in order to end this pandemic, we need to have a big impact, quickly.’

‘By the end of this week, at least 100 hospitals will be using the system,’ Geerts told website Zorgvisie.

Hospitals can use the tool without charge. A similar system for analysing CT scans, which Thirona is working on, will be rolled out next week.

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