In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0
Mass community testing is a critical means for monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the gold standard for detecting the causative coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) but the test is invasive, test centers may not be readily available, and the wait for laboratory results can take several days. Various machine learning based alternatives to PCR screening for SARS-CoV-2 have been proposed, including cough sound analysis. Cough classification models appear to be a robust means to predict infective status, but collecting reliable PCR confirmed data for their development is challenging and recent work using unverified crowdsourced data is seen as a viable alternative. In this study, we report experiments that assess cough classification models trained (i) using data from PCR-confirmed COVID subjects and (ii) using data of individuals self-reporting their infective status. We compare performance using PCR-confirmed data. Models trained on PCR-confirmed data perform better than those trained on patient-reported data. Models using PCR-confirmed data also exploit more stable predictive features and converge faster. Crowd-sourced cough data is less reliable than PCR-confirmed data for developing predictive models for COVID-19, and raises concerns about the utility of patient reported outcome data in developing other clinical predictive models when better gold-standard data are available.
Xiong Hao, Berkovsky Shlomo, Kâafar Mohamed Ali, Jaffe Adam, Coiera Enrico, Sharan Roneel V