Give your voice to help Covid-19 research

Published on 15/12/2020

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) currently has many areas of research regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.One intriguing direction of research is the detection of COVID-19 via cough and voice analysis to help emergency services identify critical cases needing rapid intervention.This is done with the use of artificial intelligence to detect a COVID-19 signature that can be present in voice and in coughs.

The research project currently being carried out at LIST is called CDCVA or COVID-19 Detection by Cough and Voice Analysis. While most Coronavirus diagnoses require a physical consultations, which increases the risk of infection for staff and patients, and consume significant amounts of health system resources, the CDCVA system can be done remotely.

This exciting research could eventually lead to rapid detection of COVID-19 just through a simple telephone call.

“Respiratory conditions, such as dry cough, sore throat, excessively breathy voice and dyspnoea, caused by Covid-19, can make patients' voices distinctive, creating identifiable voice signatures, that may be discovered using our system”, explained the project leader Muhannad Ismael.

However, the project is still in the early testing phase and LIST recently launched an appeal to the public to take a five-minute survey that includes taking vocal samples via computer or smartphone microphone.

Reaching Luxembourg and beyond

Since then over 400 samples have been taken via the online survey, but more data and completed surveys the system receives, the more it can learn and improve in the battle against COVID-19.

Therefore, the move now is to not only appeal for more vocal samples in Luxembourg, but beyond the borders too, and with that in mind three more languages; Arabic Serbian and Portuguese, have been added to the list of languages the survey can be carried out in.

“We decided to add them to reach more people from around the world. The platform is now available in eight languages and we are open to adding more soon!” said Muhannad, before adding “now, our plan is to reach out the media outside Luxembourg. At the same time, we are looking at working with the health ministry to help us by informing COVID-19 patients of the survey.” CDCVA is also supported by the Luxembourg Institute of Health and the University of Luxembourg.

Take the survey!

Would you like to take part? It’s easy and takes about five minutes to do. The survey asks you for some general information, before asking you to record saying “aaaahhh”, cough, and read a short text. Of course everything is totally anonymous. Full details are explained on the CDCVA website.

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Dr Muhannad ISMAEL
Dr Muhannad ISMAEL
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