Pfizer is developing a smartphone app to detect coronavirus by coughing

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has paid nearly $120 million to acquire a small Australian company

claiming to have developed a smartphone app that can accurately diagnose COVID-19 by analyzing the sound of a cough. Discuss

For about ten years, a small Australian companyResApp, a digital health company, has been working on an algorithm that can diagnose respiratory illnesses simply by examining the sound of a patient's cough. Initially, the system was trained to diagnose pneumonia, but by 2019, researchers have shown that the technology can effectively distinguish between asthma, croup, and bronchiolitis.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the teamunsurprisingly quickly switched to incorporating COVID-19 diagnoses into its cough recognition technology. By early 2022, the first data from a pilot test of the COVID algorithm showed good results.

During the test, it was found that the systemcan accurately identify 92% of positive COVID cases by the sound of coughing alone. The system also showed 80% specificity, meaning only two out of every 10 people screened received false positive results.

In a statement, a Pfizer spokesperson said the preliminary data is encouraging and the deal expands the company's presence in the digital health space.