Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

A smartphone app that screens for COVID-19 is being developed locally — and you can help, Zaynab Kanji writes.

Covid has brought the world many negative factors and inconvenienced us incredibly, but if there is one positive that has surfaced as a result, it is the remarkable medical technology that has been researched, improved upon and made a major impact.

A smartphone-based app is being developed, based on artificial intelligence, with the ability to medically screen for and identify COVID-19 and other health conditions by analyzing a voice recording.

Voice analysis in this context would mean speaking into a smartphone and, within seconds, receiving a full analysis of possible diseases and an overview of one’s wellness; you could be told things about your body that no one else would be able to identify.

One of the diseases detectable is COVID-19.

Two Lake Simcoe area men are playing key roles in the app’s development, which is being carried out by VoiceHealth Inc., a new Canadian company specializing in the diagnosis and management of medical conditions using a smartphone-based technology. The company president is Phillip Gutwein, a Washago man who is working alongside doctors and engineers on the app. Orillia resident Hank Ilesic is a consultant and marketing assistant for the new innovation.

Gutwein says the accuracy of the smartphone app will continue to improve over time as more data is collected.

You can contribute to the development of the app by going to the VoiceHealth website (https://voicehealth.ca) and leaving a recording of your voice.

The voice recording print analysis is extremely simple to use as it does not require swab tests like most Covid tests in use. The app has the potential to be a major game-changer for Covid-19 testing, as it has the potential to accelerate the number of those who get tested; furthermore, it allows people to test themselves as many times as they want, which is a great advantage in terms of tracking the virus. With some more research and work on the app, it is expected it will provide more than 90-percent accuracy for both sensitivity and specificity.

Here, briefly, is how it works. The app uses artificial intelligence to learn the patterns and trends taken from a human voice. Our vocal cords produce different types of frequencies that each provide certain types of information; all of these are added up and can be used to depict certain information. In the past, the app was able to identify conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and thyroid conditions. Covid screening can benefit everyone — whether they have the disease or not.

This app can hopefully have a major positive effect on our world by speeding up the diagnosis of Covid-19.

The app is in Beta (study) phase right now. It is expected to be available soon on the Apple and Google Play store at what Gutwein calls “a very low cost.”

Source: VoiceHealth Inc.

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