‘kAs’ – a screening and monitoring application based on cough sounds, now integrated by Apollo Hospitals for Covid-19


With a paucity of test kits in the country, it has become a tedious task for the health authorities to screen thousands of people for Covid-19 and then to prioritise the candidates for PCR testing. Hence, in an effort to reduce the number of people requiring advanced testing for the pandemic, an mobile app called ‘kAs’ – a screening and monitoring tool based on cough sounds was developed.

The condition of individuals with respiratory symptoms or those in identified clusters, but not-confirmed for Covid-19 can be monitored through the app. kAs multiplies the reach of screening, condition monitoring at large especially the potentially at-risk populations. The places for monitoring include temporary hospitals, quarantine centres, temporary shelters, hospitals, etc.

How the app works? The subject is presented a questionnaire with 15 questions (like medical history, past activity, etc) and is then asked to cough into the microphone of the smartphone. Based on the answers and the coughing sound, a rating of scale 1-10 is generated. Depending on the pattern and severity of the respiratory pattern, the need for covid-19 diagnosis will be identified for the subjevt.

The app developed by by Salcit technologies, a Hyderabad based startup in partnership with Zensark technologies private limited, an IT firm is in the process of pursuing various certifications and approvals under the classification of a medical device. The technology has been granted an international and Indian Patent ‘A system for analysing risk associated with cough sounds’ and has undergone CTRI registered clinical trials.

Speaking on how the app works, Manmohan Jain, CEO of Zensark, said, “The subjects cough into the mobile app kAs which then sends the cough sounds to Swaasa- an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform. AI is able to do an audiometric analysis and comes up with a composite Covid Risk score combining Covid symptoms and the audiometric analysis of cough sounds.”

“The risk score can be tracked over time. The subjects can be asked to submit cough samples as many times a day for as many days as necessary. Based on the samples, we track the risk level including variation in dry cough count of each individual over time. Anytime, any subject is found to be breaching a threshold risk score, it is highlighted to the Public Health officials on their dashboards,” stated Jain adding that the system is a tool to manage the pandemic based on objective information.

Swaasa’s seamless integration with Apollo’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Scanner aims at increasing the efficacy of detecting the risk of the infection. The system handles more than 10,000 requests in minutes and could very soon be taking care of millions of requests in a single day’s window.

Manmohan Jain, said, “Apollo team had a great eye for evaluating products based on the deep science and rigor of the clinical validation. Swaasa was a great augmentation of the existing assessment framework. With an integration effort of three days, Swaasa was able to handle a load of 2000 requests per minute. We, at Zensark, are committed to reaching out to millions and improving our customer experience, we continuously invest in improving capabilities each day.”

Apollo COVID-19 Risk Scanner has already started making an impact. With the total number of scans already at 100,000, Swaasa AI and Apollo are preparing to scale it for a million scans a day. Such assessment done at an individual level, provide these individuals with a risk assessment score and recommend a series of next steps as applicable.

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