Israeli startup Vocalis Health is launching a voice-based test study to triage, screen and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
Vocalis (a merger between Healthymize and Beyond Verbal) developed an AI-based platform that uses voice recordings to detect and monitor health, and will now use all its resources “to try to find a unique vocal ‘fingerprint’ that will be able to detect a deterioration in the health of coronavirus patients as well as flag potential symptoms,” the company said.
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COVID-19 symptoms include fever, a cough, and shortness of breath and Vocalis believes these symptoms “can be logged through voice tasks like phonation (‘ahhh’) and free speech (e.g. ‘describe your day from start to finish’) – and could potentially be used to screen for COVID-19 symptoms early. ”
Vocalis says that “by analyzing the voice beyond what the human ear can hear, we can unveil dedicated vocal biomarkers that will enable the healthcare community to get insights on the symptoms and hopefully the onset of the COVID-19 virus.”
One part of the study will be led by the Israeli Defense Ministry where Vocalis will work with hospitals and academic institutions to sample the voices of confirmed coronavirus patients through a mobile app.
Israel currently has over 2,000 such cases.
Another part of the study will collect voice samples from the general population at home and the company asks that people donate their voice. Vocalis hopes to enroll at least 100,000 patients to collect as much data as possible. Participants will be tracked weekly for a month.
Both parts of the study began last week and will end in December.
“These voice samples will be analyzed using an AI (Artificial Intelligence)-based algorithm in order to identify the unique vocal ‘fingerprint’, the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement cited by Reuters.
Vocalis’ researchers hope to rapidly build a point-of-care diagnostic to save lives and prioritize testing and hospitalized treatment.