Spanish tech experts claim Covid-19 testing could be done over the phone

Tech experts claim coronavirus can be detected in the voice using artificial intelligence.

A SPANISH company dedicated to this field says the advance could put an end to rapid tests and protect health professionals in continual contact with sick patients.

According to Biometric Vox, “artificial intelligence techniques applied to the voice could analyse slight variations in the sound system at a distance and in real time” and, as a result, “provide an index of Covid-19 infection.”

The company believes that this advance could be of great help to health authorities in controlling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biometric Vox has collaborated with the Basque Government’s Health Department and its Research Institute BioCruces Bizkaia and the Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research, as well as the Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital.

One of the main symptoms of coronavirus is dyspnea or difficulty in breathing, so the researchers say it stands to reason the virus “affects voice generation.”

Business Development Director, Carlos Gavilán, told Antenna 3: “Thanks to the possibility of using algorithms based on artificial intelligence, we can correlate the physiological effects of the virus on the respiratory and phonatory systems with patterns of voice alteration.

“In this way the technology will help detect cases of contagion at a distance and in real time.”

Domingo Andrés Pascual Figal, Head of Service and professor at the Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital, said the study of the voice “is a perfect tool, since it requires nothing more than the use of the mobile phone itself.”

The coronavirus affects the upper respiratory tract, so “this technology could be especially important in the detection of initial asymptomatic cases, where rapid tests and PCR lose utility and applicability,” he added.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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