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Can Covid-19 infections be detected through AI analysis of coughs?

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Many people doubt the feasibility of the project on using AI technology to find Covid-infected people through coughs, now being carried out by Vietnamese scientists.

Can Covid-19 infections be detected through AI analysis of coughs?

A group of Vietnamese scientists has set to work on a project that uses AI to analyze coughs. The coughs would be recorded by smartphones and then analyzed to diagnose if they are infected with Covid-19.

Like a good mechanic who can hear car engine sounds and find faults, this method can be applied in medical branch. Coughs are one of the signs that reflect the health status of a person. A lot of research works in the world use cough analyses to find diseases.

In 2012, the scientists of Queensland University had a patented scientific research work on using technology to analyze coughs, used for disease diagnosis.

The research team led by Associate Prof Udantha Abeyratne developed a diagnostic tool using smartphones to discover respiratory diseases, including asthma, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease just by ‘listening’ to patients’ coughs.

According to the scientists, physicians consider cough a symptom rather than a descriptive sign of illness. However, there are many different types of cough – wet or dry, hoarse or wheezing.

These symptoms are generally referred to as cough symptoms. However, these descriptions are still very general. Therefore, scientists want to use signal processing and machine learning technologies to read what those coughs mean.

With the research of Queensland University’s scientists, recording coughs with smartphones for diagnosis can assist health examination in remote areas where people find it difficult to access medical facilities.

How to diagnose disease through coughs

A stethoscope can recognize sounds with the frequency of 3kHz, while coughs may comprise sounds with the frequency of up to 60 kHz, beyond human’s hearing capability. This explains why coughs contain information that cannot be recognized by humans.

Coughs also contain information about breathing rate and the contraction of the ribcage. In people with asthma, the contraction of the bronchi will limit the rate of air flow during a cough and therefore, create typical resonant sounds.

In pneumonia, lung tissues can become infected, leading to a buildup of secretions in bronchi and air alveoli. This limits the overall volume and the airflow speed, thus causing specific sounds. This is important input information to recognize and find the disease.

To analyze coughs, it is first necessary to record coughs with smartphones. After that, the coughs will be analyzed with machine learning algorithms to find out which disease symptoms the sounds are most similar to.

In its simplest form, the technology can be developed into a smartphone app. Users can download the app and use it without accessories, sensors, or even an internet connection.

With the work of the Queensland University, their technology could be used as a tool in pulmonology departments in hospitals. This will help diagnose pneumonia with a much higher accuracy than the WHO method. And scientists believe that this approach can be applied to other respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

Vietnamese way

Le Hung, the coordinator of the project on finding Covid-19 infections through coughs (AICOVIDVN), told VietNamNet that the Vietnamese research team will use the results of the publicized research by the scientists from MIT.

Unlike the coughs of normal people, the coughs of Covid-19 infected people could be recognized through four biomarkers, including muscular degradation, changes in vocal cords, changes in sentiment/mood, and changes in the lungs and respiratory tract.

The Vietnamese scientists will use AI algorithms to analyze thousands of cough samples of Covid-19 infected people, the coughs of non-Covid people, or people suffering from other pulmonology diseases.

The system will automatically recognize the characteristics of the damages caused by Covid-19.

In order to get accurate results, the research team needs to use a reasonable AI method, together with complex filters.

The research team still needs more cough samples of Vietnamese people. AICOVIDVN has called on all Vietnamese people, especially F0, F1, F2 and F3 cases, to record their coughs and send to Zalo’s bit.ly/dulieutiengho, or Messenger at m.me/aicovn, the official website of the project. 

Trong Dat

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/can-covid-19-infections-be-detected-through-ai-analysis-of-coughs-757874.html

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People complain about slow internet speed during social distancing

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Internet service providers are bearing pressure as people’s daily activities now rely more on the internet during social distancing.

People complain about slow internet speed during social distancing

VietNamNet readers have been complaining about internet problems these days, especially the low speed.

Complaints about internet quality can be seen in chat groups of social networks. The common problem is the difficulty in accessing foreign websites. Some people said they cannot even watch videos on YouTube.

When VietNamNet reporters called VNPT to ask about the troubles with international transmission line, they were told that the internet service provider is having problems with the undersea cable.

“The incident occurred at 4 am of July 19 and is expected to be fixed by 8 pm of August 3. This has had little effect on international transmission capability, and domestic transmission lines operate normally,” the representative of VNPT said, adding that the incident has affected users in all regions.

According to VNPT, since the beginning of July, the AEE-1 and AAG cable systems have faced incidents, leading to lower international internet quality of all network operators in Vietnam, including VNPT.

VNPT reported that its internet use capacity has increased by 20 percent compared with ordinary days, resulting in overloading in some rush hours.

In order to minimize the effects of the cable system incident on internet service quality and ensure quality for online working and learning, VNPT has used capacity from other cable systems and promoted the opening of a content delivery network (CDN) with content providers.

The AAG cable system has now been fully recovered and the international internet service quality has returned to normal.

To improve service quality, VNPT plans to increase the international cable capability by another 30 percent by the end of 2021 and promote the opening of CDN of the world’s content providers.

VNPT has invested in a project on building SJC2 undersea fiber optic cable system with landing station in Quy Nhon. It is scheduled to be put into operation in 2022.

Asked about the incident on July 19 with the AAG, VIA said incidents occur often with AAG. However, this incident may have caused more impact because people are using the internet more than usual. 

Trong Dat

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/people-complain-about-slow-internet-speed-during-social-distancing-762602.html

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17 tigers illegally kept in captivity in central Vietnam

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Police have discovered 17 adolescent tiger individuals being raised in two households in Nghe An Province, central Vietnam, local authorities said on August 4.

17 tigers illegally kept in captivity in central Vietnam
The tigers have been transported to an animal rescue centre for care. (Photo: dantri.com.vn)

Fourteen of the captive tigers weighing approximately 200 kilos each were found in a family in Nam Vuc Village, Do Thanh Commune, said local police.

Nguyen Van Hien, 39, who has raised the tigers, confessed that he had purchased the cubs from Laos and refurbished the barn system for captive breeding.

Also on August 4, the police caught red handed Nguyen Thi Dinh, 50, keeping three adolescent tigers in captivity in her house in Phu Xuan Village, Do Thanh Commune. Each tiger weighs between 225 – 265 kilos.

To avoid detection by local authorities, Dinh had built a 120m2 cellar to keep the tigers in captivity.

The police sent vehicles to transport these 17 tigers to a local animal rescue centre for daily care and investigation.

Source: VOV

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/17-tigers-illegally-kept-in-captivity-in-central-vietnam-762984.html

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National unified, interconnected anti-epidemic technology platforms

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There are a number of unified, nationwide IT platforms that will best serve the prevention of the Covid-19 epidemic in Vietnam.

Nền tảng công nghệ chống dịch thống nhất, liên thông toàn quốc
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung. Photo: Hai Dang

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has mobilized many resources to build technology platforms to support epidemic prevention and control in the country.

Up to now, the ministry has deployed six technology platforms to serve the prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic, including: medical declaration and management of access to public places by QR Code; Covid-19 vaccination management platform; platform to manage test sample collection and returning test results; platform to support tracing those who have contact with Covid-19 infected cases; quarantine monitoring platform; and data analysis platform to serve leadership and management activities.

Three of the six platforms must be shared nationwide. These platforms are developed by the National Center for Technology for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, including: medical declaration and management of access to public places by QR Code; platform to manage test sample collection and returning test results; and Covid-19 vaccination management platform.

On August 3, the Ministry of Information and Communications held an online conference to disseminate information about experiences in implementing these platforms nationwide.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung emphasized three important factors when using technology in disease prevention: technology is an indispensable tool, the current platforms must be further used and improved, and there is a need to have nationwide technology platforms. He said that, with the rapid spread of the Delta variant, technology is an indispensable tool to fight the epidemic effectively.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information and Communications have agreed to jointly deploy the National Technology Center for Covid-19 prevention and control. Dung proposed setting up a technology group directed by the departments of Health and Information and Communications in each province.

Hai Dang

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/national-unified-interconnected-anti-epidemic-technology-platforms-762899.html

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