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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this study?
The purpose of the VRI COVID research study is to teach our voice analysis software to detect COVID-19. 

It’s like when your mom asks, “You don’t sound well, are you feeling ok?” 

Our software applies similar techniques as your mom by matching patterns in your voice with your health.

What happens if the study is successful?

Our goal is to provide a convenient, fast, and available COVID screening test for everyone. We want to bring you safely back to work, family, and fun.

How long will the study take?

It takes less than 5 minutes.

How do I participate in the COVID voice study?

Download our VRI app from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Record two 30-second voice samples and any symptoms

Take a photo of your COVID test results and upload the photo into the VRI app

Will my voice recordings be anonymous?

Yes, VRI follows standard clinical research guidelines.

Do I need to be diagnosed with COVID-19 to participate?

No. Even if you are healthy your voice recordings will be helpful to the research.

What will you do with my voice recordings?

Your voice and symptom information will be used to 'teach' our software the differences between people who have COVID-19 and people who don’t have it.

How old do I have to be to participate in the VRI COVID study?

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this research.

Will I be given a positive or negative COVID-19 diagnosis in this study?

Our study only collects data so the app can learn. It does not provide a diagnosis.

Although it has been shown that this kind of technology can detect COVID-19 from voice recordings, this initiative is for scientific research only. If you suspect you may have COVID-19 and have been previously undiagnosed, please visit your primary care provider or local medical services for professional advice.

How does it work? How can you detect COVID-19 from voice recordings?

Over the past 15 years, it has been shown that a person’s voice can be used to detect a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease, neuromuscular disorders, psychiatric conditions, and even viral and bacterial infections. It works by comparing subtle changes in the voice by specialized computer algorithms.

Where can I learn more about voice analysis technology?
Vocal analysis technology has been the subject of many news reports and press releases over the past 15 years.  Several good articles include: 

1)  “Researchers are exploring ways to use people’s voices to diagnose coronavirus infections, dementia, depression and much more” (Nature Magazine):
2)  “Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals” (MIT)  

3)  “New app collects the sounds of COVID-19” (Univ of Cambridge)  

4)  “Mayo Clinic study shows voice-analyzing app may be useful in detecting heart disease diagnosis”  

5)  “Pfizer uses computer application to analyze speech pattern for early Parkinson’s disease detection”  

How can machines help?
The technique of listening to the body is actually very difficult for humans to acquire without a lot of training, but machines are much better at it. Artificial intelligence technologies like machine learning can identify features or patterns in a sound that the human ear cannot.

Will this research be useful after COVID-19?
Yes, very much.  This technology can easily be applied to a wide variety of medical conditions.  It could even help people to better understand their baseline immunological and nutritional health status.  Our big vision is for machine learning algorithms to be linked to wearable devices and smartphones so it can automate the diagnosis of disease through sound. While many people can visit a doctor on demand, this is often expensive and requires an appointment.  For those who don’t have access to medical care, or who can’t afford the time and/or expense to see a physician regularly, this would be a remarkable way to cheaply, rapidly, and conveniently evaluate and monitor their own health as often as they wish and from anywhere they have phone access.

Where can I go to learn more about COVID-19 in general?
One of the best sources for information about COVID-19 is the CDC. [LINK: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cdcresponse/about-COVID-19.html]
You can also track the prevalence of the virus in the USA and around the world using the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Website. [LINK: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu]

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