Data visualisation tool launched by Oxfordshire business to speed up COVID-19 diagnosis


Data visualisation experts at an Oxford business incubator have developed a ground-breaking tool to help speed up the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Using a combination of deep learning and data visualisation, Oxford University spin out, Zegami, has developed a proficient computer platform of the same name that distinguishes between X-rays of COVID-19 infections and those caused by bacterial pneumonia, as well as healthy lungs.

Based at Grassroots co-working space, a purpose-built hub owned by Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the company has adapted its software for use in the fight against coronavirus. The newly developed platform is now freely available to aid clinicians taking part in COVID-19 research.

Zegami CEO and founder, Roger Noble, said: “Currently there is a swab test for COVID-19 but the cheapest and quickest option for triage is a chest X-ray – you can get the result back in minutes.

“Our concept can be used to diagnose COVID-19 quickly and will help researchers, data scientists and clinicians who are having to work with large numbers of imaging data.

“It is critical to get these tools out there. Radiologists are in short supply but there is an increasing demand for their services. It is inevitable that artificial intelligence will be brought in to help assist. Zegami accelerates the development of algorithms providing the right diagnosis.”

Inspired by Microsoft PivotViewer software, Zegami was founded in 2016 after a successful collaboration with the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Grassroots Community Manager Eman Hamdan said: “Our main purpose is to help outstanding scientists build and grow great businesses that can change the world. As an incubator we pride ourselves on providing the flexibility, space and support to help businesses prosper and grow and we have worked hard throughout lockdown to continue to do this.

“We have continued to provide business support tailored for start-ups including the introduction of a virtual coaching programme, cash flow advice, and help with grant applications.”

Open to entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses working in the science and technology industries, Grassroots provides a mixture of dedicated offices and co-working space as well as phone booths, meeting rooms and a boardroom.