The Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Noraini Ahmad has recently published a post on her Facebook page which contains a list of initiatives by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to help the country fight against COVID-19. Out of the 10 initiatives in the list, there is one particular work that seems rather extraordinary, to say the least.
According to the image below which we managed to save before it was taken down from the post, this particular project intends to develop a COVID-19 self-diagnose app that detects infection via a selfie.
The size of the team that working on the project was not revealed through the post, but it is being led by Dr. Azree Shahrel Ahmad Nazri who is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science in UPM’s Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology.
The app will be utilizing artificial intelligence to recognize biomarkers that related to COVID-19 cases. While the idea is quite sound and was used to detect pancreatic cancer before, we don’t think there are potential COVID-19 biomarkers that are visible through a selfie, at least based on the current list of COVID-19 symptoms.
That being said, it is too quick to come out with a conclusion through just one image shared by a rather controversial minister. There might be more to the story, hence we are now reaching out to Dr. Azree who also has the reputation as one of the country’s leading AI expert, to learn more about the project.
(Pancreatic cancer screen app reference: thanks to @prasys.)