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AI-Assisted Cough Tracking Could Help Detect the Next Pandemic

Max Kozlov

The Scientist

Dec 9, 2020

Some researchers have turned their focus to artificial intelligence to study an underused symptom common to most respiratory pathogens—cough. Joe Brew, an epidemiologist, came up with the realization that smartphones could provide public health authorities with real-time symptomatic data from the community. Brew and several colleagues founded Hyfe, a free phone application that uses artificial intelligence to detect and track users’ coughs, a hallmark of many respiratory conditions including COVID-19. With the help of AI-assisted cough tracking, he envisions a world in which users who have been coughing at a higher rate than normal for, say, two weeks would receive a text notifying them of their symptoms with directions to a public clinic that can test them for tuberculosis.

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