APR 04, 2020 2:00 PM PDT

AI Finds New Predictive Markers of Covid-19 Severity

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

 

Researchers and healthcare organizations are putting their heads together to consider how technology could ease the ever-worsening COVID-19 global crisis. A partnership between NYU and the hospitals in Wenzhou, China are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help predict exactly which COVID-19 patients go on to develop severe respiratory disease.

Symptoms for COVID-19, including cough, fever, and difficulty breathing start to appear after an incubation phase that can take as long as two weeks. According to research, around 80 percent of infected individuals experience the mild form of the coronavirus infection. Individuals at risk for developing severe complications from infection are those with underlying health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. However, correlating the severity of the disease with health status at the time of infection may not be as straightforward as initially thought.

Data collected from over 50 COVID-19 patients admitted to Wenzhou Central Hospital and Cangnan People's Hospital revealed an unexpected trend. A small subset of patients who were healthy at the time of infection and experienced mild symptoms subsequently progressed to a very severe, life-threatening form of the disease. Caught off guard, physicians struggled to improve patient outcomes in these cases. 

The study, published in Computers, Materials & Continua, aimed to determine whether AI-powered tools could assist in pinpointing exactly which patients are most likely to develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) — a common cause of death in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The research teams fed their AI-driven computer model with COVID-19 data, in the form of demographic, laboratory, and radiological findings, with the program “learning” to pick out hidden patterns connecting this data to clinical outcomes. Interestingly, features once thought to be strong predictors of downstream disease severity (opacity in lung X-rays, the intensity of the immune response, age, and gender) turned out to not be as significant.

Instead, the program made associations between disease severity and three specific markers: levels of a patient’s alanine aminotransferase (a liver enzyme), blood hemoglobin, and deep muscle pain. According to the research team, these and other factors enabled them to use their AI tool to predict the future onset of ARDS with 80 percent accuracy.

Co-author Anasse Bari, a computer science  expert at the Courant Institute said, “We hope that the tool, when fully developed, will be useful to physicians as they assess which moderately ill patients really need beds and who can safely go home, with hospital resources stretched thin.”

 

 


Sources: NYU, Computers, Materials & Continua.

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
OCT 01, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Presenting the World's Smallest Ultrasound Detector
OCT 01, 2020
Presenting the World's Smallest Ultrasound Detector
It’s smaller than a human cell, but the diminutive size of the newly-developed ultrasound detector is by no means ...
OCT 29, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Skin Deep: A Novel Test for Parkinson's
OCT 29, 2020
Skin Deep: A Novel Test for Parkinson's
In Parkinson’s disease (PD), there is chronic degeneration of the central nervous system, particularly in the regi ...
OCT 28, 2020
Cancer
Protecting the Head and Neck from Off Target Radiation
OCT 28, 2020
Protecting the Head and Neck from Off Target Radiation
Radiotherapy alone or with chemotherapy is the go-to treatment for head and neck cancers. Unfortunately, head and neck t ...
NOV 24, 2020
Cancer
Using Restfulness as a Metric for Measuring Sleep Quality and Cardiovascular Risk
NOV 24, 2020
Using Restfulness as a Metric for Measuring Sleep Quality and Cardiovascular Risk
Did you know sleeping is great? Apparently, getting a full eight hours every night can make you look fabulous and solve ...
DEC 03, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Spit Contains Concussion Clues
DEC 03, 2020
Spit Contains Concussion Clues
Drowsiness, confusion, headaches, and sensitivity to light — it’s sometimes hard for doctors to spot the sig ...
DEC 31, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Silent Mice Drive Autism Gene Discovery
DEC 31, 2020
Silent Mice Drive Autism Gene Discovery
Around 1 in 54 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, a broad range of conditions tha ...
Loading Comments...