AI Diagnostic Test Accurately Identifies Respiratory Viruses in Minutes

By: | February 17th, 2023

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have developed a world-first artificial intelligence-powered diagnostic tool to identify respiratory viruses within five minutes from a single nasal or throat swab. Developed by Pictura Bio co-founders Nicolas Shiaelis and Dr. Nicole Robb, this innovative tech combines molecular labeling, computer vision, and machine learning to create a universal diagnostic imaging platform.

Unlike current methods that could identify only one infection, the newly-developed tool could not only be used to diagnose multiple respiratory infections but also differentiate between strains.

Moreover, this latest tool significantly improves the efficiency, accuracy, and time taken to perform these tests. Just like facial recognition software detects the face, this ground-breaking tool swiftly detects the pathogen present in a patient sample by looking straight at it.

Preliminary research showed that the test could find the COVID-19 virus in patient samples. However, subsequent studies showed that the test could also diagnose multiple respiratory infections in five minutes with an accuracy rate of over 97 percent.

Dr. Robb said, “Cases of respiratory infections this winter have hit record-breaking highs, increasing the number of people seeking medical help. This combined with the COVID-19 backlog, staff shortages, tighter budgets and an aging population puts the NHS and its workforce under immense and unsustainable pressure.”

Robb added, “Our simplified method of diagnostic testing is quicker and more cost-effective, accurate, and future-proof than any other tests currently available. If we want to detect a new virus, all we need to do is retrain the software to recognize it, rather than develop a whole new test. Our findings demonstrate the potential for this method to revolutionize viral diagnostics and our ability to control the spread of respiratory illnesses.” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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