Triaging moderate COVID-19 and other viral pneumonias from routine blood tests

05/13/2020 ∙ by Forrest Sheng Bao, et al. ∙ 19

The COVID-19 is sweeping the world with deadly consequences. Its contagious nature and clinical similarity to other pneumonias make separating subjects contracted with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 viral pneumonia a priority and a challenge. However, COVID-19 testing has been greatly limited by the availability and cost of existing methods, even in developed countries like the US. Intrigued by the wide availability of routine blood tests, we propose to leverage them for COVID-19 testing using the power of machine learning. Two proven-robust machine learning model families, random forests (RFs) and support vector machines (SVMs), are employed to tackle the challenge. Trained on blood data from 208 moderate COVID-19 subjects and 86 subjects with non-COVID-19 moderate viral pneumonia, the best result is obtained in an SVM-based classifier with an accuracy of 84 and a precision of 92 learning and medical perspectives. A privacy-protected web portal is set up to help medical personnel in their practice and the trained models are released for developers to further build other applications. We hope our results can help the world fight this pandemic and welcome clinical verification of our approach on larger populations.

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