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Bangalore-based HealthTech startup Niramai also supported in developing new AI-driven platform that will facilitate early-Covid interventions over Whatsapp

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Department of Science & Technology (DST) supported not-for-profit foundation ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) along with Bangalore-based HealthTech startup Niramai has developed a solution called XraySetu that can screen chest X-ray and help in early detection of Covid-19.

The new AI-driven platform XraySetu will now help early intervention through rapid screening of Covid-19 with the help of Chest X-ray interpretation over WhatsApp for doctors who have access to X-ray machines. The solution can work with low-resolution images sent via mobiles. It is quick and easy to use, and can facilitate detection in rural areas.

As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the rural heartlands of India, it has become critical to drive rapid testing, contact tracing, and create dedicated containment zones. At a time when such tests are taking more than a week across some cities, XraySetu will pave the way for making it happen very easily in rural areas. Easy alternative tests are necessary as RT-PCR tests also give a ‘false negative’ for some variants.

Health check

It also has semantic annotations of affected areas for review and localised heatmap by doctors to help them verify it easily with other modalities and has already served close to 1200+ reports so far from the interior parts of India.

To conduct the health check, any doctor simply needs to visit www.xraysetu.com and click on the ‘Try the Free XraySetu Beta’ button. The platform will then redirect the person to another page, wherein he or she can choose to engage with the WhatsApp-based chatbot via web or smartphone application.

Or the doctor can simply send a WhatsApp message to the phone number +91 8046163838 to start the XraySetu service. Then they just need to click the picture of the patient’s X-ray and obtain the 2-page automated diagnostics with annotated images in a few minutes. While extending the probability of the Covid-19 contraction, the report also highlights a localized heatmap for a quick perusal of the doctor.

The platform has tested and validated with over 1,25 000 X-ray images from National Institute of Health, UK, as well as over 1000+ Indian Covid patients. During these tests XraySetu has shown excellent performance with sensitivity of 98.86% and specificity of 74.74%.

WhatsApp-based chatbot

To conduct the health check, any doctor simply needs to visit www.xraysetu.com and click on the ‘Try the Free XraySetu Beta’ button. The platform will then redirect the person to another page, wherein he or she can choose to engage with the WhatsApp-based chatbot via web or smartphone application. Or the doctor can simply send a WhatsApp message to the phone number +91 8046163838 to start the XraySetu service.

Then they just need to click the picture of the patient’s X-ray and obtain the 2-page automated diagnostics with annotated images in a few minutes. While extending the probability of the Covid-19 contraction, the report also highlights a localized heatmap for a quick perusal of the doctor.

Tested and validated with over 1,25 000 X-ray images from National Institute of Health, UK, as well as over 1000+ Indian COVID patients from, XraySetu, has shown excellent performance with Sensitivity: 98.86%, and Specificity: 74.74%.

Exponential technologies

Commenting on the achievement, ARTPARK Founder and CEO Umakant Soni said the need to scale technology for addressing the needs of 1.36 billion people, especially considering that India has 1 radiologist for over 1 million people.

“Built with the collaboration of industry and academia, XraySetu paves the way for exponential technologies like AI to leapfrog and provide cutting-edge healthcare technology to rural India in an extremely cost-effective manner,” said Umakant Soni.

Niramai Founder and CEO Dr. Geetha Manjunath said NIRAMAI has partnered with ARTPARK and IISc to provide a rapid COVID screening method for rural doctors who have access to X-ray machines.

“XraySetu provides an automated interpretation of Chest X-Rays to predict if a patient has any lung abnormality that indicates COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Geetha Manjunath.

Covid positive X-Ray images

IISc Prof Chiranjib Bhattacharyya said in the absence of Covid positive X-Ray images, ARTPARK developed a unique Transfer Learning framework that leverages easily available X-ray images of lungs, not necessarily Covid positive, to learn useful features which have high predictive power.

“We also developed a confidence score which is guided by the areas of lungs that are infected. The system outputs a prediction, localizes the infected parts, and creates a report which gives a confidence score, all within a few minutes,” said Prof Chiranjib Bhattacharyya.

Besides Covid-19, the platform can also detect 14 additional lung-related ailments, including tuberculosis and pneumonia, alongside others. It can further be used for both analog and digital X-rays and has been successfully piloted by more than 300 doctors in rural areas over the last 10 months. Technologies like XraySetu can enable cutting-edge AI-driven systems powering mobile PHCs, which can make healthcare more accessible even across rural India at a fraction of the cost.

ARTPARK, initiated under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS), is further collaborating with infrastructure partners like C-DAC (for leveraging AI supercomputer ParamSiddi), Nvidia & AWS to scale this free service to all the doctors in rural India.

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