April 1, 2020 — Thirona and Delft Imaging launched CAD4COVID. This new artificial intelligence (AI) tool analyses X-ray images and is intended to support healthcare specialists manage COVID-19 cases. The companies have made the tool available free-of-charge in support of the crisis. Thirona and Delft Imaging are partnering with several hospitals and academic institutes worldwide to validate CAD4COVID.
Artificial Intelligence for COVID-19 Triage
Delft Imaging is specialised in tuberculosis (TB) screening and with its existing CAD4TB solution, which uses artificial intelligence to screen for TB. Over six million people have been screened in over 40 countries. Together with its sister company and AI-specialist Thirona, Delft Imaging developed a tool to help triage COVID-19 cases and indicate the affected lung tissue. CAD4COVID builds on the technical core of the CAD4TB software, developed and distributed by Thirona and Delft Imaging respectively. This software is used by Ministries of Health and tuberculosis-focused institutions, many of whom are now being tasked with helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their respective countries.
Preferred tools in the detection of COVID-19 are the RT-PCR test and the computed tomography (CT) scan, but in resource-constrained settings where the availability of such tools is limited and where COVID-19 is highly prevalent, X-ray can be a useful tool in the fight against COVID-19. In many countries, X-ray is currently used as a first-line triage before any further testing. Delft Imaging and Thirona have partnered with several academic institutes and hospitals in the Netherlands and abroad. These organisations will help with the development and validation of the software to support healthcare professionals in these times of crisis. The two Dutch companies aim to continuously improve the CAD4COVID software as more partners sign up.
Supporting Low-resource Settings
Guido Geerts, CEO of Delft Imaging and Thirona, about CAD4COVID: “Tuberculosis still takes the lives of 1.6 million people every year. It is incredibly challenging to tackle, especially as it is most active in low-resource settings where there is limited infrastructure. Our breadth of experience in such settings has made us very concerned about the implications that COVID-19 can have on countries where healthcare infrastructure is already under pressure. Many of the measures implemented across Europe and the United States will be difficult to replicate in Africa. How can you quarantine in a small household full of people? How do you ‘stock-up’ when you live day-to-day? We wanted to leverage our expertise and experience in artificial intelligence to support the fight against COVID-19. That is also why we decided to make CAD4COVID available free-of-charge; in order to end this pandemic, we need to have a big impact, quickly.”