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HCG, Wipro launch Covigilent app to detect COVID-19 cough

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The AI-powered COVID-19 cough recorder app records the cough and hands out the risk categorisation to the user in a matter of few seconds

Cancer care specialist HCG and tech MNC Wipro have jointly developed Covigilent, an advanced artificial intelligence (AI0 powered cough analysis rapid screening tool for COVID-19 which will be offered free of cost to a global audience. The unique AI model will help in early detection and large-scale screening of patients using cough as a primary input.

As per a statement from HCG, the app helps to distinguish a ‘COVID cough’ from other types of cough caused by seasonal bronchitis and pneumonia. It captures cough signals using a simple ‘do it yourself’ recording analysed by experts to pick up subtle changes that are specific to COVID-19 patients without any intervention from healthcare professionals.

It captures audio and self-reported data such as gender, age, and other health indicators, and will be uploaded to a secure cloud server for analysis using artificial intelligence technology. The signals are analysed by an algorithm to identify audio signatures specific to people infected with the virus. The application does not require any large investment or equipment. A smartphone used by the patient serves as the recording device and the risk categorisation is handed out to the user in a matter of few seconds.
Covigilent has been developed by Wipro Research teams, in association with HCG Cancer Hospital Bengaluru, ably supported by Government of Karnataka, Bhakti Vedanta Hospital in Mumbai and Dr. C R Jayanthi, Director, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMRCI).

In anticipation of the second wave of infections, this application could help with a more directed and focused approach, by categorising the high-risk contacts, who can then be effectively isolated. The objective is to help doctors speed up decision-making in times of emergencies as well as reduce financial burden and counter the challenge posed by healthcare manpower constraints.

S. Suresh Kumar Minister for Primary & Secondary Education, Labour and Sakala, Govt of Karnataka said “We are extremely delighted that Wipro and HCG Cancer Hospital have developed a Covid-19 cough check app using AI technology bringing science and technology under one platform which will ease the burden of healthcare workers and public. This will give our best education institutes a simple tool more effective than a infra-red thermometer to pick up high risk infected patients. HCG has always been at the forefront in fighting COVID-19 by initiating plasma therapy and other clinical trials and has always been a great support to the government during the pandemic”.

Speaking about the initiative Dr. Vishal Rao U S, Associate Dean, Department of Academics, HealthCare Global Enterprises said, “This user-friendly app will be made freely available to the common man as a novel cough based screening tool for COVID-19 using Deep Learning algorithms and machine learning. Given the threat of the second wave of infections, Covigilent will help quickly identify and isolate the high-risk contacts in the community.  Probing deep into the challenge of quick diagnosis, the research team from HCG and Wipro have co-created Covigilent using Mel’s Spectrogram principle. The current screening is focused on the identification of symptomatic cases and those from high-risk zones. But given that community transmission is largely unavoidable, Covigilent is a tailored fit, being cost-effective, rapidly deployable, and easily reproducible. It can screen much larger numbers with greater accuracy, thereby reducing the burden on confirmatory testing. Thanks to our collaboration, we have made a small yet significant contribution to employ science and technology to serve the larger cause of humanity.”

Dr. C R Jayanti, Director BMRCI said, “Majority of the cases in our country are in the early stage or asymptomatic. This can be interpreted in two ways, the positive side being less health care burden and mortality. And this is where we believe that this platform’s real novelty be employed. This technology is cost-effective, rapid and easily reproducible. It can screen much larger numbers and with greater accuracy reducing the burden on confirmatory testing. Through this joint effort, we have made a small yet significant contribution bringing science and technology closer to serve humanity”.

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