Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has completed a deal to acquire an Australian developer that has created a smartphone app that diagnoses COVID-19 by coughing. The deal amounted to 120 million USD, reports ferra.ru. ResApp, a digital health company, has been working for about 10 years to create an algorithm that can diagnose respiratory diseases by studying the sound of a patient's cough. By 2019, the system could diagnose pneumonia, asthma, croup, and bronchiolitis.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the company's specialists have focused on incorporating COVID-19 diagnoses into their cough recognition technology. By early 2022, the first data from a pilot test of the COVID algorithm showed good results. In testing, the system was able to identify 92% of positive covid cases by the sound of a cough alone. Besides that, it showed 80% specificity, meaning only two out of every 10 people screened received false positive results.
As Pfizer noted, preliminary research data is encouraging and the deal expands the company's footprint in digital health.