IIT Palakkad Develops Ultrasound for COVID-19 Screening

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IIT Palakkad Develops Ultrasound for COVID-19 Screening

  • The IIT, Palakkad has developed an automated lung ultrasound (LUS) for screening and monitoring of COVID-19.
  • It works through cloud based image analysis and scoring system.
  • The app is first of its kind in India.
  • The app is now available for clinicians to perform automated analysis by just uploading the ultrasound video.


  • To develop the app, the institute has collaborated with clinical partners at
    • La Paz Hospital, Madrid Spain
    • Sree Chitra Institute of Medical Science and Technology
    • Government Medical College, Kottayam
  • An IIT team started investigations using the LUS images provided by the Ultrasound Division at Hospital Universitario, La Paz.
  • The promising results showing the relevance and importance of LUS in COVID-19 patients motivated the IIT team to conduct LUS analysis of normal, viral and bacterial infected lungs.
  • The team used image processing and neural networks and developed and automated LUS analysis tool.
  • The methodology will be extremely useful in time-critical COVID-19 working conditions where clinicians have time limitations in manually evaluating ultrasound videos of all patients.
  • The approach is not only restricted to COVID-9 detection but also in identification of other lung infections such as
    • Pulmonary oedema
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Pneumonia
    • Pneumothorax
    • COPD
    • Asthma
  • It has been reported that lung abnormalities may develop before clinical manifestations and nucleic acid detection in the case of COVID-19 infection.
  • Early chest computerized tomography (CT) has been recommended for screening suspected COVID-19 patients.
  • But the high contagiousness of COVID-19 and the risk of transporting unstable patients make chest CT a limited option for those who have contracted the disease.
  • Also, LUS has the advantage of -
    • Ease of use at point-of-care
    • Repeatability
    • Absence of radio exposure
    • Low cost
  • In the last few weeks LUS has been proposed as the single imaging based screening and monitoring approach for the safety of the healthcare practitioners.
  • However, in India, LUS is not very commonly adopted.
  • Also, ultrasound, by nature itself requires specific experience and skill.

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