LONDON, ONT. -- Researchers out of Lawson Health Research Institute have developed an artificial intelligence system for diagnosing COVID-19.

“The AI tool that we developed can detect patterns that humans cannot,” said Dr. Robert Arntfield with Lawson and the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

The system was trained to see patterns in lung scans of COVID-19 patients from LHSC and compare them to scans of patients with other lung diseases.

The result is the system was able to identify the unique characteristics of a COVID-19 infection that can not be seen by the naked eye.

“Our study of over 100,000 ultrasound images showed that while trained physicians could – as expected - not distinguish between different causes of lung disease, the AI had nearly perfect accuracy in making the diagnosis,” said Arntfield.

The use of AI technology has become a crucial took for the diagnosis and care of critically ill patients experiencing acute respiratory failure.

According to Lawson, the convenience, portability and low cost of using these machines makes them ideally suited for pandemic conditions.

The next step is to go beyond COVID-19 and explore multiple conditions where lung ultrasound and AI can be used.