Deep Learning-based Detection for COVID-19 from Chest CT using Weak Label

Accurate and rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 suspected cases plays a crucial role in timely quarantine and medical treatment. Developing a deep learning-based model for automatic COVID-19 detection on chest CT is helpful to counter the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. A weakly-supervised deep learning-based software system was developed using 3D CT volumes to detect COVID-19. For each patient, the lung region was segmented using a pre-trained UNet; then the segmented 3D lung region was fed into a 3D deep neural network to predict the probability of COVID-19 infectious. 499 CT volumes collected from Dec. 13, 2019, to Jan. 23, 2020, were used for training and 131 CT volumes collected from Jan 24, 2020, to Feb 6, 2020, were used for testing. The deep learning algorithm obtained 0.959 ROC AUC and 0.976 PR AUC. There was an operating point with 0.907 sensitivity and 0.911 specificity in the ROC curve. When using a probability threshold of 0.5 to classify COVID-positive and COVID-negative, the algorithm obtained an accuracy of 0.901, a positive predictive value of 0.840 and a very high negative predictive value of 0.982. The algorithm took only 1.93 seconds to process a single patient's CT volume using a dedicated GPU. Our weakly-supervised deep learning model can accurately predict the COVID-19 infectious probability in chest CT volumes without the need for annotating the lesions for training. The easily-trained and high-performance deep learning algorithm provides a fast way to identify COVID-19 patients, which is beneficial to control the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.

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