New app claims to be 92 per cent accurate at testing for Covid - and all you have to do is cough
A new smartphone app which tests people for Covid-19 by making them cough into the phone has launched. Scientists are said to be optimistic about the tech as it’s more than 90 per cent accurate in its diagnosis.
ResApp, which has been developed by top scientists and tech experts, uses machine learning to analyse the sounds of a cough. It means it can therefore tell if someone has Covid-19 purely down to the way they cough, reports the Mirror.
Currently in the testing phase, ResApp has been highly effective, according to scientists. So far, it has accurately diagnosed 92 per cent of Covid-19 cases it has been presented with.
The testing, which is currently happening in the US and India, has so far seen 741 patients involved. More than half - 446 people - had Covid-19 to see how good the tech was. All the participants had to do was complete surveys on the symptoms they were experiencing and cough into a smartphone that had the app on it.
Results from these tests showed it correctly detected Covid in 92 per cent of people with the virus. That marks it up significantly on lateral flow tests which can detect around 72 per cent of symptomatic cases and 58 per cent asymptomatic ones.
All of this comes at a time where people in the UK will now have to pay for any Covid-19 tests. That's after the Government had laid out its Covid recovery roadmap, which saw an end to free testing.
ResApp cough into phone© ResApp ResApp cough into phone
Professor Catherine Bennett, a member of ResApp's Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Board, said: "The sheer scale of this global pandemic and the likely evolution to an endemic disease means we need more scalable diagnostic tools that can balance our current over-reliance on rapid antigen and PCR tests. By rapidly ruling out Covid-19, ResApp's Covid-19 test would significantly reduce the number of rapid antigen and PCR tests required, while still maintaining the disease surveillance needed to manage the continued impact of Covid-19."
The effectiveness of the app was then tested further by ResApp who looked to see if Covid-19 could be separated from other respiratory conditions such as asthma and pneumonia. Here, 1,007 patients were tested with the app detected Covid-19 with a 90 per cent success rate.
Tony Keating, CEO and managing director of ResApp added: "We are very excited about these preliminary results for detecting Covid-19 using cough audio recorded on a smartphone. These algorithms offer a unique opportunity to provide a rule out screening test for Covid-19 at scale across the world, reducing the distribution challenge, the cost and the environmental impact of rapid antigen and PCR testing."
The app remains in the testing phase, with developers saying that once rolled out, it will be used in settings where frequent Covid-19 testing is required. This includes travel, sports, entertainment, and healthcare settings.