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Covid, an app to ‘find’ the virus: what the experts say


Identify the presence of the coronavirus through a simple cough. This is what the ‘Voice Med One’ App would be able to do, now being tested at the ASL of Turin and able to recognize, with an accuracy of 73.5%, the presence of Covid-19. But what do the experts say? “Let’s see the validation but it could be interesting”, underlines the virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco, professor of the State University of Milan at Adnkronos. “Currently – he remembers – we are giving a huge amount of swabs to people who do not need them” except for the purpose of the Green pass “and an App could certainly be a useful tool”. Not only. “It’s all to be seen – the expert holds back – but it could also help in managing the virus by allowing a simple ‘do it yourself’ check. Obviously – concludes the virologist – in case of positivity the results should then be confirmed by a swab” . “The App will certainly be able to help, but be careful because Covid cough is very similar to that of other infectious diseases such as interstitial pneumonia. I would not like this database to have recorded only Covid cough, however, since in recent months it has not practically no other microorganism circulated. It would be interesting to compare the cough from Covid with that of other viruses even if I did not perceive this great difference between one and the other. Let’s see the published studies and then we could consider it as a possibility too useful”. So to Adnkronos Salute Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa. “If it is scientifically validated, everything is useful”, replies the epidemiologist Massimo Ciccozzi, professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the Biomedical Campus University of Rome. “Science is made of these things, we are talking about a subject that is dynamic: every month, every week there are news. If it works and is scientifically validated – he tells Adnkronos Salute – I am the first to say cheers”. But the App “will never replace the swab – warns the expert – The swab is the gold standard par excellence because it takes right where the virus enters, in the lower part of the nose and throat, in the upper respiratory tract. It’s true that even in a cough the virus can be traced, but maybe one of the viruses still has it still in the nose and nothing comes out of the cough. So you can’t abandon it “. However, says the epidemiologist, “it could be very useful for quick surveillance, for screening, for example at school among children”.


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