LONDON, ONT -- Researchers out of Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ont. are investigating whether artificial intelligence could be used to help diagnose COVID-19.

The team is looking at where an artificial neural network could recognize patterns in lung scans to help with the diagnosis.

Ultrasound scans of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia produce an abnormal imaging pattern.

While it is not unique to COVID it is possible that there a details the human eye can’t see. That is where the AI comes in.

“If we can train a neural network to learn and identify these unique characteristics among different scans, we can apply this AI to enhance the diagnostic power of portable ultrasound,” says Dr. Robert Arntfield with Lawson.

Lung ultrasound has proven to be effective in diagnosing different types of lung infections and illnesses, such as pneumonia, with a high degree of accuracy.

The machine’s convenience and low cost has made them a standard bedside tool in emergency departments and intensive care units worldwide.

“This project is a great example of the unique ability we have here in London to be agile: that is, to identify a gap and move quickly towards finding a solution,” says Arntfield.