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Indian startup develops platform for early Covid detection over WhatsApp

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Xray Setu has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven platform to identify Covid positive patients even from low-resolution chest X-ray images sent over WhatsApp.

A Bengaluru-based startup has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven platform to identify Covid positive patients even from low-resolution chest X-ray images sent over WhatsApp, the Department of Science and Technology said on Wednesday.

Xray Setu is quick and easy to use and can facilitate detection in rural areas. The specially designed platform also helps in early intervention through rapid screening of COVID-19 with chest X-ray interpretation for doctors who have access to X-ray machines, it said.

"ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park), a not-for-profit foundation established by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), in collaboration with Bengaluru-based HealthTech startup Niramai and the IISc, has developed XraySetu specifically designed to identify Covid positive patients even from low-resolution chest X-Ray images sent over Whatsapp," the DST said.

It also has semantic annotations of affected areas for review and localised heatmap by doctors to help them verify it easily with other modalities and has served close to 1,200 plus reports so far from the interior parts of India, it said.

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To conduct the health check, any doctor simply needs to visit www.xraysetu.com and click on the 'Try the Free XraySetu Beta' button.

The platform will then redirect the person to another page, wherein he or she can choose to engage with the WhatsApp-based chatbot via web or smartphone application. The doctor can also simply send a WhatsApp message to the phone number 91 8046163838 to start the XraySetu service.

"Then they just need to click the picture of the patient’s X-ray and obtain the two-page automated diagnostics with annotated images in a few minutes. While extending the probability of the COVID-19 contraction, the report also highlights a localised heatmap for a quick perusal of the doctor," the DST said.

Tested and validated with over 1,25,000 X-ray images from the National Institute of Health, UK, as well as over 1,000 plus Indian COVID-19 patients, XraySetu, has shown excellent performance with sensitivity: 98.86 per cent, and specificity: 74.74 per cent.

Besides COVID-19, the platform can also detect 14 additional lung-related ailments, including tuberculosis and pneumonia, alongside others. It can further be used for both analog and digital X-rays and has been successfully piloted by more than 300 doctors in rural areas over the last 10 months, the department said.

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