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In medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences

Patients with influenza and SARS-CoV2/Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections have different clinical course and outcomes. We developed and validated a supervised machine learning pipeline to distinguish the two viral infections using the available vital signs and demographic dataset from the first hospital/emergency room encounters of 3,883 patients who had confirmed diagnoses of influenza A/B, COVID-19 or negative laboratory test results. The models were able to achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC AUC) of at least 97% using our multiclass classifier. The predictive models were externally validated on 15,697 encounters in 3,125 patients available on TrinetX database that contains patient-level data from different healthcare organizations. The influenza vs. COVID-19-positive model had an AUC of 98%, and 92% on the internal and external test sets, respectively. Our study illustrates the potentials of machine-learning models for accurately distinguishing the two viral infections. The code is made available at and may be have utility as a frontline diagnostic tool to aid healthcare workers in triaging patients once the two viral infections start cocirculating in the communities.

Yanamala Naveena, Krishna Nanda H, Hathaway Quincy A, Radhakrishnan Aditya, Sunkara Srinidhi, Patel Heenaben, Farjo Peter, Patel Brijesh, Sengupta Partho P