At the beginning of the month,free Covid-19 tests were scrapped in England as the government moved forward with its ‘Living with Covid’ plans.
As part of the announcement, only a small minority of the general public are still eligible for free tests, meaning that everyone else must now pay should they want to be tested.
However, soon you may be able to save costs and test for Covid 19 using an app on your phone.
After being developed by scientists, an app calledResApp claims to be able to test for the infection by analysing the sounds of people’s coughs.
Though the idea may seem ludacris, during the testing phase, ResApp correctly identified Covid-19 in 92% of people with the virus.
Speaking of the development, Professor Catherine Bennett, a member of ResApp’s Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Board, said: “The sheer scale of this global pandemic and the likely evolution to an endemic disease means we need more scalable diagnostic tools that can balance our current over-reliance on rapid antigen and PCR tests.
“By rapidly ruling out Covid-19, ResApp’s COVID-19 test would significantly reduce the number of rapid antigen and PCR tests required, while still maintaining the disease surveillance needed to manage the continued impact of Covid-19.”
To test its efficiency, the app was tested on 741 patients in India and the US. Of those, 446 had Covid.
Participants were required to complete surveys on their symptoms before coughing into their phones while using the app.
As a result, the app used machine learning to correctly detect the virus in 92% of people with Covid.
By comparison, research by the Cochrane Library found that lateral flow tests detect an average of 72% of symptomatic cases and 58% of asymptomatic ones.
Further follow-up tests also determined whether the app could specifically test Covid by testing coughs from 1,007 patients with conditions such as asthma and pneumonia.
During these tests, the app accurately detected the virus with 90% specificity.
According to developers, the app will first be used at settings that depend on frequent testing, including travel and healthcare environments.
The news of ResApp comes afterDeltacron was officially declared a COVID-19 strain.
Concerns about a mutation combining features of both the Delta and Omicron variants first arose earlier this year, but virologists in Paris have now confirmed its existence.
It’s also been confirmed, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), that evidence of the strain has been found in Denmark and the Netherlands. The UK, France and the US have also reported cases.
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