The development of a prototype software system, designed to help doctors quickly identify the severity of COVID-19 in patients, led a team from Glasgow Caledonian University to second prize and future funding in a UK competition.

Members from GCU’s Data Science Research Group, led by Professor Gordon Morison, took part in the Corona Hack. This is a week-long competition, organised by artificial-intelligence consultancy Mindstream-AI, where multi-disciplinary teams from all over the UK use their data skills to devise innovative techniques to combat COVID-19 using publicly available data. The entire event took place online using Slack and Microsoft Teams.

The GCU team developed a solution to aid first diagnosis of COVID-19 in hospitals based on chest X-rays and clinical annotations.

During the course of the week, the team members used their data science and software-development skills to create a prototype visualisation tool, which uses X-ray images and other patient data to show doctors the level of COVID-19 severity in a patient.

The team was awarded second place by the judges, out of a total of 19 teams, and will receive £1,000 towards future research.

In addition to Professor Morison, the team, which was named Alpaca-COVID19, was made up of Dr Imene Mitiche, Alireza Salimy, Mark Waters, Jacob König and Maria Insa-Iglesias, with input on patient testing from Dr Zoë Tieges (SHLS).

Professor Morison said: “I am incredibly proud of the team. They worked extremely hard on this project and, in a really short period of time, put together a working prototype that can be extended. Data Science is a multidisciplinary field and it will be great to see how we can help to support more of these types of collaborative activities going forward.”