Israel Launches Voice-based Mobile App To Help Detect COVID-19 Symptoms

Israeli Defence Ministry announced that a start-up company is working with health professionals and researchers to develop a mobile application to detect COVID-19 symptoms. The ministry along with the Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D) is leading the development of an Artificial Intelligence-based app which will test the voice to detect the symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The defence ministry, in a statement, said that the DDR&D and Vocalis Health will use a mobile app to collect the voice samples of coronavirus infected patients. The “voice fingerprints” will be analysed to form a basis for the app to diagnose and monitor patients. Since COVID-19 affects the respiratory system and causes breathing issues, the signs could be well reflected in the voice and breathing pattern.

The ministry has been working in collaboration with Vocalis Health, Sheba & Rabin medical centres, Afeka college and additional research groups in the academic community and Israeli Defence Forces. Currently, the app will only be used by medical staff on the patients taking part in the study, however, the company’s website allows anyone to send voice samples to researchers. Israel has reported over 1,900 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three deaths due to infection.

Race for vaccine
Research groups and scientists around the world are racing to find a cure for the disease and working on the vaccine. Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has also launched tests of a potential vaccine. According to Russian state news agency, the watchdog’s State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector has developed prototypes of vaccines based on six various technological platforms.

Rospotrebnadzor reportedly said that it is necessary to carry out Vivo tests on sensitive laboratory animals. The scientists have developed the vaccine based on broadly used recombinant viral vectors of flu and tests will determine dose, frequency and methods of application.

There has been also fear of United States monopolising the vaccine after reports of US President Donald Trump wanting to get exclusive access to a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by a German biotech firm emerged. However, Germany’s Finance Minister Heiko Maas publicly denied any intention to sell the rights to coronavirus vaccine research.