Mumbai: In 2 months, BMC may have voice app to test for COVID-19

Updated: 16 October, 2020 07:30 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Civic body sends samples of 1,500 patients from its NESCO COVID centre to Israeli firm developing an AI algorithm to detect virus based on voice

The voice app will be helpful for quick tests at public places. Representation pic/ Getty Images
The voice app will be helpful for quick tests at public places. Representation pic/ Getty Images

Under a pilot project to develop a voice app to detect COVID-19, the BMC managed to send 1,500 voice samples from the COVID centre at NESCO Goregaon to Israel. Another 500 voice samples will be sent to create an algorithm for Artificial Intelligence (AI). The process is expected to be completed within two months.

Diagnosing patients through their sound waves is being done in several countries, including Israel. The civic body is trying to do it with the help of an Israeli firm.

COVID-19 results in a voice modulation that can be detected through an application on phones/tablets within 30 seconds. To develop a basic algorithm, there is a need of at least 500 samples with detailed case reports including RT-PCR tests. The BMC started collecting voice samples in August as part of the trial for the software Vocalis. People admitted at the NESCO facility were asked to read numbers and their voices were recorded on the mobile application.

"Of the 1,500 samples, 300 have detailed case reports. We are collecting another 500 samples in the next 10 days, of these, 200 will have detailed case reports," said Dr Neelam Andrade, in-charge of the NESCO facility.

Once the AI algorithm made of 500 samples, which had RT-PCR tests done, is ready, it will be checked with the 1,500 samples that did not have RT-PCR reports. The results will be verified with the findings of the RT-PCR results for accuracy.

Also Read: mid-day special: Mumbai sees few casualties among those with both TB and COVID-19

The technique will be helpful in detecting cases faster, especially at public places like railway, metro stations, airports, malls, restaurants and multiplexes. People suspected of infections will undergo RT-PCR tests.

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First Published: 16 October, 2020 07:07 IST

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