AI-Assisted CT as a Clinical and Research Tool for COVID-19.
There is compelling support for widening the role of computed tomography (CT) for COVID-19 in clinical and research scenarios. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis, has two potential weaknesses: the delay in obtaining results and the possibility of RT-PCR test kits running out when demand spikes or being unavailable altogether. This perspective article discusses the potential use of CT in conjunction with RT-PCR in hospitals lacking sufficient access to RT-PCR test kits. The precedent for this approach is discussed based on the use of CT for COVID-19 diagnosis and screening in the United Kingdom and China. The hurdles and challenges are presented, which need addressing prior to realization of the potential roles for CT artificial intelligence (AI). The potential roles include a more accurate clinical classification, characterization for research roles and mechanisms, and informing clinical trial response criteria as a surrogate for clinical outcomes.