Transportable CTs: Another Breakthrough in Healthtech during Pandemic
COVID-19 and China
Doctors are eyeing the patient's lung for lung abnormalities to detect the coronavirus. Image Credit: Unıted Imaging

United Imaging, a Shanghai-based medical imaging equipment maker, is preparing to deploy transportable CT scanners in the United States to assist in the fight against COVID-19, the company has announced. The advent of transportable CTs marks yet another breakthrough in diagnostic approaches to the new coronavirus strain, one that has not been applied to scale before.

The Chinese maker of the imaging devices worked with a US-based small business to create the new system, extending the reaches of CT imaging to relatively remote and under-equipped areas. This can be regarded as a pilot project that could be applied in the developing world in the later stages of the pandemic.

Medical imaging-supported diagnostic solutions possess tremendous importance for frontline hospitals in the afflicted regions. Complicating this is the fact that the symptoms of the new virus are similar to those of other fast-spreading diseases like flu, complicating the process and creating excess demand for diagnosis due to the large numbers of concerned patients. Medical Imaging cannot replace or substitute PCR diagnostics due to global standards of coronavirus diagnosis, but they can be faster than lab tests for doctors to gauge the situation.  

The CT-based medical image analysis was also automated due to the massive demand that arose in China. Infervision (推想科技), a Beijing based artificial intelligence company that focuses on lung cancer diagnosis through MI analysis, described its coronavirus detection model as working through CT lung screening. This means that the new model detects ground-glass opacities (GGO) in the lung that may later be confirmed as one of the complications of the virus.

United Imaging has long been known for its effort to break foreign dominance in China's medical imaging scene, challenging Philips, GE Healthcare and Hitachi and other foreign companies that have been setting up Chinese hospitals.

The firm previously equipped the first coronavirus-fighting focused hospital in China's Wuhan, the first known epıcenter of the pandemic, with CT Scanners and X-Ray machines, to speed up the tedious diagnostic process.

Medical imaging devices are heavy, costly machines that most hospitals in the developing world cannot afford. The transportability of these new machines may provide us with a new weapon to use against the virus spreading through emerging economies. In many cases, we have yet to receive reliable data about the severity of their respective epidemic situations due to a lack of diagnostic means.

Editor: Luke Sheehan
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