Canadian AI start-up, Darwin AI, has announced a new tool to help fight COVID-19. The organisation collaborated with researchers at the
University of Waterloo’s VIP Lab to develop COVID-Net – a deep convolutional neural network for COVID-19 detection via chest radiography. Differentiating between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 pneumonia on x-rays or CT scans is key to quickly diagnosing the disease in critically ill patients, but differentiation can be difficult for humans, but the process is vastly improved using AI. After training the system with nearly 5,000 X-rays, COVID-Net was open-sourced in late March, resulting in additional learning from over 17,000 images.
DarwinAI caution that the tool is “by no means a production ready solution” and is not intended for direct clinical diagnosis, but they hope that the tool “will be leveraged and built upon … to accelerate development of highly accurate yet practical deep learning solutions for detecting COVID-19 cases and accelerate treatment of those who need it most.”