Researchers at Alibaba have developed a new AI-powered diagnosis system that promises to detect new coronavirus cases with an accuracy rate of up to 96% via computerized tomography (CT) scans.
Researchers at Alibaba’s Damo Academy said they have trained the AI model with sample data from more than 5,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, adding that the system can identify differences in CT scans between patients infected with the novel virus and those with ordinary viral pneumonia with an accuracy of up to 96%. The algorithm includes the latest treatment guidelines and most recently published research.
The AI-based diagnosis algorithm can identify coronavirus infections based on patients’ CT scans. / Source: Alibaba
The new diagnostic tool was first introduced in Qiboshan Hospital in Zhengzhou, Henan province, and the hospital has already started accepting patients infected with coronavirus last week. The system will also be adopted in more than 100 hospitals in the provinces of Hubei, Guangdong, and Anhui, said Alibaba.
The new algorithm is expected alleviate pressure on doctors and hospitals, as it can complete the recognition process within 20 seconds, according to Alibaba. Normally, it would take a doctor 10 to 15 minutes to analyze a CT scan of one suspected patient - which could include more than 300 images - to give a clinical diagnosis.
The Chinese National Health Commission widened the criteria for the diagnosis of new infections on February 5th, adding CT scan results on top of the previous nucleic acid test method, to ensure patients with clinical symptoms will receive standard treatment as soon as possible.
This new diagnosis system is not Alibaba’s first attempt to use AI to combat the coronavirus. Researchers from Damo Academy have developed an AI-powered public health service tool that provides information related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which was first deployed by the government of Zhejiang province on Jan. 27. The system can answer most inquiries regarding the pandemic via an app that serves as the Zhejiang governmental service platform.