The fight against COVID-19: Dutch companies offer CAD4COVID AI software free for faster COVID-19 triage
Today (1st April) Dutch firms Thirona and Delft Imaging have launched CAD4COVID. This new artificial intelligence tool analyses x-ray images to help healthcare specialists manage COVID-19 cases by indicating affected lung tissue. The companies have offered the tool free-of-charge to help fight the crisis.
CAD4COVID builds on the technical core of Thirona and Delft Imaging's existing CAD4TB software, which is used by health and tuberculosis-focused institutions, many of whom are now being tasked with helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their respective countries.
RT-PCR test and the CT scan are best for the detection of COVID-19, but, where such availability is limited and COVID-19 is prevalent, x-ray can prove an essential tool, and in many countries is currently used as a first-line triage before any further testing.
Delft Imaging and Thirona have partnered with several academic institutes and hospitals in the Netherlands and elsewhere. These organisations will help with the development and validation of CAD4COVID, with the aim of continuously improving the software as more partners sign up.
Guido Geerts, CEO of Delft Imaging and Thirona, said: “Tuberculosis still takes the lives of 1.6 million people every year. It is incredibly challenging to tackle, especially as it is most active in low-resource settings where there is limited infrastructure.
“Our breadth of experience in such settings has made us very concerned about the implications that COVID-19 might have in countries where healthcare infrastructure is already under pressure. Many of the measures implemented across Europe and the United States will be difficult to replicate in Africa.
“How can you quarantine in a small household full of people? How do you ‘stock-up’ when you live day-to-day? We wanted to leverage our expertise and experience in artificial intelligence to support the fight against COVID-19. That is also why we decided to make CAD4COVID available free-of-charge; in order to end this pandemic, we need to make a big impact, quickly.”
Thirona is a Dutch company specialised in artificial intelligence for medical image analysis of thoracic CTscans (LungQ), chest x-rays (CAD4TB) and retinal scans (RetCAD). A spin-off from Radboud University in 2014, Thirona has since become an important player in the medical field, providing AI-solutions currently used in over forty countries worldwide.
Delft Imaging specialises in tuberculosis screening and is “dedicated to improving people’s quality of life by means of its diagnostic imaging devices, e-health software and related services”.