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Health India

Science and Tech Ministry introduces XraySetu as an alternative to RT-PCR for rural areas

Acknowledging the lack of Covid-test availability in villages, the Centre works with Bengaluru-based start-ups to work on a platform that helps with early intervention

Sabrangindia 02 Jun 2021

Image Courtesy:zeenews.india.com

In a move that can facilitate easy and quick detection of Covid-19 in rural areas, the Government of India introduced a new AI-driven platform ‘XraySetu’ to screen chest X-ray images over WhatsApp on June 2, 2021.

“As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across rural heartlands of India, it has become critical to drive rapid testing, contact tracing, and create dedicated containment zones. At a time when such tests are taking more than a week across some cities, the challenge is even more for rural areas. Easy alternative tests are necessary as RT-PCR tests also give a ‘false negative’ for some variants,” said the press release by the Science and Technology Ministry.

Accordingly, officials worked with Bengaluru-based not-for-profit foundation ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) and HealthTech start-up Niramai and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), to develop an app that identifies Covid positive patients even from low-resolution chest X-ray images sent over WhatsApp messenger. XraySetu will assess the photo to see if the patient has any lung abnormality that indicates Covid-19 infection.

“In the absence of Covid-positive X-Ray images, we developed a unique Transfer Learning framework that leverages easily available X-ray images of lungs, not necessarily Covid positive, to learn useful features which have high predictive power. We also developed a confidence score which is guided by the areas of lungs that are infected. The system outputs a prediction, localizes the infected parts, and creates a report which gives a confidence score, all within a few minutes”, said IISc Professor Chiranjib Bhattacharyya.

The app uses information of affected areas for review and localized heatmap by doctors to help them verify it easily with other modalities. According to the government document XraySetu has already served close to 1,200 reports from the interior parts of India.

To conduct the health check via the beta version of the app, a doctor can simply visit www.xraysetu.com from where he will be redirected to another page that gives an option to engage with the WhatsApp-based web chatbot or smartphone application.

Doctors can also send a WhatsApp message to +91 8046163838 to start the service. After clicking the picture of the patient’s X-ray, the doctor will obtain 2-page automated diagnostics with annotated images in a few minutes. Along with the probability of the coronavirus contraction, the report will also highlight a localized heatmap for a quick perusal of the doctor.

The government states the app scored 98.86 percent sensitivity and 74.74 percent specificity in terms of performance after being tested and validated with over 1,25,000 X-ray images from National Institute of Health, UK and over 1000+ Indian Covid-patients.

According to ARTPARK Founder Umakant Soni, “We need to scale technology for addressing the needs of 1.36 billion people, especially considering we have one radiologist for over one million people. Built with the collaboration of industry and academia, XraySetu paves the way for exponential technologies to leapfrog and provide cutting-edge healthcare technology to rural India in an extremely cost-effective manner.”

Besides coronavirus, the platform can also detect 14 additional lung-related ailments like tuberculosis, pneumonia, etc. It can further be used for both analog and digital X-rays and has been successfully piloted by more than 300 doctors in rural areas over the last 10 months, said the Centre.

Related:

53 Rohingyas test positive at Kathua jail facility
Covid-19 has spawned more quacks than a duck pond
Medical system in rural Uttar Pradesh is ‘Ram Bharose’: Allahabad HC
EXCLUSIVE: 225 pilots Covid positive already but no vaccine or help from Air India: ICPA

Science and Tech Ministry introduces XraySetu as an alternative to RT-PCR for rural areas

Acknowledging the lack of Covid-test availability in villages, the Centre works with Bengaluru-based start-ups to work on a platform that helps with early intervention

Image Courtesy:zeenews.india.com

In a move that can facilitate easy and quick detection of Covid-19 in rural areas, the Government of India introduced a new AI-driven platform ‘XraySetu’ to screen chest X-ray images over WhatsApp on June 2, 2021.

“As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across rural heartlands of India, it has become critical to drive rapid testing, contact tracing, and create dedicated containment zones. At a time when such tests are taking more than a week across some cities, the challenge is even more for rural areas. Easy alternative tests are necessary as RT-PCR tests also give a ‘false negative’ for some variants,” said the press release by the Science and Technology Ministry.

Accordingly, officials worked with Bengaluru-based not-for-profit foundation ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) and HealthTech start-up Niramai and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), to develop an app that identifies Covid positive patients even from low-resolution chest X-ray images sent over WhatsApp messenger. XraySetu will assess the photo to see if the patient has any lung abnormality that indicates Covid-19 infection.

“In the absence of Covid-positive X-Ray images, we developed a unique Transfer Learning framework that leverages easily available X-ray images of lungs, not necessarily Covid positive, to learn useful features which have high predictive power. We also developed a confidence score which is guided by the areas of lungs that are infected. The system outputs a prediction, localizes the infected parts, and creates a report which gives a confidence score, all within a few minutes”, said IISc Professor Chiranjib Bhattacharyya.

The app uses information of affected areas for review and localized heatmap by doctors to help them verify it easily with other modalities. According to the government document XraySetu has already served close to 1,200 reports from the interior parts of India.

To conduct the health check via the beta version of the app, a doctor can simply visit www.xraysetu.com from where he will be redirected to another page that gives an option to engage with the WhatsApp-based web chatbot or smartphone application.

Doctors can also send a WhatsApp message to +91 8046163838 to start the service. After clicking the picture of the patient’s X-ray, the doctor will obtain 2-page automated diagnostics with annotated images in a few minutes. Along with the probability of the coronavirus contraction, the report will also highlight a localized heatmap for a quick perusal of the doctor.

The government states the app scored 98.86 percent sensitivity and 74.74 percent specificity in terms of performance after being tested and validated with over 1,25,000 X-ray images from National Institute of Health, UK and over 1000+ Indian Covid-patients.

According to ARTPARK Founder Umakant Soni, “We need to scale technology for addressing the needs of 1.36 billion people, especially considering we have one radiologist for over one million people. Built with the collaboration of industry and academia, XraySetu paves the way for exponential technologies to leapfrog and provide cutting-edge healthcare technology to rural India in an extremely cost-effective manner.”

Besides coronavirus, the platform can also detect 14 additional lung-related ailments like tuberculosis, pneumonia, etc. It can further be used for both analog and digital X-rays and has been successfully piloted by more than 300 doctors in rural areas over the last 10 months, said the Centre.

Related:

53 Rohingyas test positive at Kathua jail facility
Covid-19 has spawned more quacks than a duck pond
Medical system in rural Uttar Pradesh is ‘Ram Bharose’: Allahabad HC
EXCLUSIVE: 225 pilots Covid positive already but no vaccine or help from Air India: ICPA

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