back to article Testing for COVID with the sound of a cough? There’s an app for that

An Australian software developer claims to have created a smartphone app that can accurately diagnose COVID-19 by listening to a user's coughs. ResApp Health is so confident in its tech that it announced the results [PDF] of a pilot clinical trial on the Australian Stock Exchange. So while the results have not been peer …

  1. lglethal Silver badge

    Coughing at your phone? They must be barking....

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      But the cost is not to be sneezed at.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just another excuse for you to drop your trousers in public...

      "I was just testing myself for <cough> Covid, Officer..."

  2. Blergh

    Are they only testing for fake coughs?

    I must be missing something here, did they only have test groups of people with and without Covid?

    If that is the case then this is rubbish because all they are testing for is if someone is faking a cough or not.

    How many people with coughs caused by other non-covid ailments did they test, and what was that accuracy?

    I think I would then like to subdivide those groups (covid, non-covid, other infection types) further with those who have active coughs caused by their ailments against those who have a respiratory type infection without an active cough.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Are they only testing for fake coughs?

      It's not a large sample size, but I've never had a cough as dry as the one I had when I got Covid for the first time. I assume that's what it listens for.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Are they only testing for fake coughs?

        I had COVID but no cough (I had other symptoms, though). Would the app find my fake coughing convincing enough?

        1. NeilPost

          Re: Are they only testing for fake coughs?

          Quite. It’s not a guaranteed symptom.

          As with LFT’s - fit for purpose and certification for SYMPTOMATIC patients - they can only capture people who they have been designed for.

  3. Alan J. Wylie

    I'm triple vaccinated, however I'm currently testing positive for Covid-19 (and feeling distinctly under the weather). The only time I cough is when I'm very occasionally bringing up phlegm from my lungs. I certainly don't have the "dry" cough which has been one of the symptoms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, I had relatives who caught COVID and had all kinds of unpleasant symptoms, but little cough. Seems cough is a common but not universal symptom.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Coughing is only likely to occur if there has been damage to the bronchia, which is apparently less likely with the Omicron variant, which tends to infect other parts of the respiratory system first.

      Hence testing someone with symtoms during a pandemic doesn't sound particularly revolutionary is very much like closing the door after the horse has bolted. Antigen tests remain about the best we have because testing positive is a good indication that you're infectious.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        The solution is to install this tech in electronic billboards. If it detects a covid cough, display a Night Of The Living Dead zombie pointing at the perpetrator,

  4. Tubz Silver badge

    You can download ResAppDX but can't use it without a doctors code, so obviously ca$h being made.

  5. Whitter

    tested on only 14 asymptomatic patients

    Just as well that that snippet was at the end. It's an immediate "nothing to see here yet" flag

    1. Sam Crawley

      Re: tested on only 14 asymptomatic patients

      That line made me laugh... app that works by analysing symptoms is never going to do well in cases where there are no symptoms!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Omicron is a game changer

    Only 50% of people with omicron present with the classic triad of COVID symptoms (cough, fever and loss of taste/smell) so I question the usefulness of this app.

    Perhaps for future variants?

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Omicron is a game changer

      .....and how will i ever know which (or - in case of asymptomatic disease - how many) CoViD variant(s) i had ?

      Neither the antigen tests nor the PCR tests give any indication which variant has bitten you.

      Same for the recovery certificate (which has no connection to you current health status as the RKI just slaps a full 4 weeks on the date of your PCR test to declare you recovered and disregards any negative tests which is why my recovery certificate wont be valid until april, 7th...).

      Symptoms we experienced were like a common cold, albeit remarkably stronger while my (biontech placebo) "vaccinated" wife suffered for a week longer than me. The older children (also biontech) were somewhat between us two while the youngest son (neither vaccinated nor ill) tested daily but never got a positive result.

      None of us had a significant number of coughs during that time so no luck for the app. Or does this app also work with "faked", intentional coughing ? And if so, would that mean that i can fake the fake cough good enough to be positive or negative as i like ?

  7. spireite Silver badge

    So, covid is a dry cough, but to check you probably need to cough several times in the phone to make sure...

    That contravenes the rule of DRY...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I'm on the train"...

    "I'm <cough> just testing myself <cough>... it says 'positive' <cough>... why are all the other passengers glaring at me?"

    1. Danny 2

      Re: "I'm on the train"...

      You joke, but my long-standing smokers' cough stops me from taking public transport to avoid panic. On the other hand, I can use it to scare away maskless shoppers so I've not had covid.

      My sympathies to the folk here with the BA2 'stealth' variant. My very fit, triple jabbed nephew has been laid low with it, and it amazes me that we are ending free testing and mask rules at the height of infections.

      [Off topic/ too much information: I've lost 20% of my weight and most of my muscle recently, and one nasty side effect was constipation. Turns out a good coughing fit in the smallest room greatly aids bowel movement]

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: "I'm on the train"...

        A friend was on the tube wearing her mask when some bell-end opposite her made a "sheeple" comment - "what are you afraid of". She replied "oh it's not for me - I've got COVID. But as you don't mind...", and proceeded to take off her mask and start coughing in his direction. She said he did not look at all comfortable.

        1. Danny 2

          Re: "I'm on the train"...

          I've not found a GP in two years and in November resorted to A&E, who kindly gave me a trainee doctor for twenty minutes. I'd assumed all my symptoms were a disease but she reassured me.

          Why am I so weak? "Muscle loss due to malnutrition"

          What are the constant shooting pains in my legs? "Lower back injury"

          What about the awful constipation? "That's just tough shit I'm afraid"

          I told her I was grateful for her time, and to invite me when she swapped to stand-up comedy.

  9. MOH

    "If the app is accepted, the company thinks it's also an opportunity to use smartphones' biometrics capabilities to tie results to individuals, and thereby improve security."

    I'm not sure some random app maker tying my medical condition to my phone's biometrics matches my idea of security

  10. John Robson Silver badge


    "you won't need to cough up a cent.

    Sorry about that"

    Why would you apologise... a good pun it it's own reword.

  11. AlanSh

    Not available on any of my phones

    Well, Google Play says it won't work on any of my phones - OnePlus or Samsung. Which are pretty generic. So, what is it supposed to work on?


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still waiting...

    ...for the mask that changes colour when you breath covid into it.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Still waiting...

      The FaceMask of the Red Death?

  13. boatsman

    free but not free?

    comments on playstore day u need a doctor's "code", fastener that means....

  14. joshphillips

    why face mask is important for covid?

    Wearing a face mask helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by trapping droplets that are released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Without a mask, these droplets can easily spread to others, potentially transmitting the virus. Therefore, not wearing a face mask can increase the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

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