X-rays can now diagnose Covid-19 thanks to Dutch software developers
X-rays can potentially be used to help doctors to determine whether or not a patient has the Covid-19 disease, with two Dutch companies taking the lead on using the technology to make diagnoses, the ANP reports. Medical technology firms Thirona and Delft Imaging have developed a new piece of software to analyze pulmonary x-rays for visible tissue damage on human lungs, ranking the damage on a scale between zero and 100.
The ranking is then used to determine whether a Covid-19 infection has caused the damage. At present, the only proven method for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that emerged in 2019, is by using standard laboratory testing, and CT scans can also be used to estimate whether lung damage was likely caused by Covid-19.
However, in more isolated regions and poorer countries, lab tests and CT scanning equipment tend to be considerably scarcer than x-ray equipment, according to ANP, which can be found in most medical facilities across the world. The software is also a derivative of the very same x-ray software already used worldwide to detect tuberculosis.
The new technique could provide a useful tool for regions battling the Covid-19 disease. "Many of the measures we have implemented in Europe and the United States are difficult to copy in Africa," the developers told ANP. "In many countries, an X-ray analysis is used as a standard [first assessment] before other tests take place."
The software designed by Thirona and Delft Imaging is free for any medical facility to use, the companies told ANP.