Naeem Ramzan Image
Professor Naeem Ramzan explains a result from the new, rapid COVID test. (Credit: University of the West of Scotland)

Pioneering artificial intelligence (AI) technology, developed by experts at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), is capable of accurately diagnosing COVID-19 in just a few minutes. The groundbreaking program can detect the virus far more quickly than a PCR test, which typically takes around two hours.

It is hoped that the technology can eventually be used to help relieve strain on hard-pressed accident and emergency departments, particularly in countries where PCR tests are not readily available.

The state-of-the-art technique utilizes x-ray technology, comparing scans to a database of around 3000 images, belonging to patients with COVID-19, healthy individuals, and people with viral pneumonia.

It then uses an AI process known as deep convolutional neural network, an algorithm typically used to analyze visual imagery, to make a diagnosis. During an extensive testing phase, the technique proved to be more than 98 percent accurate.