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Unlocking COVID Severity Through Cough Sounds: A Promising Breakthrough

Unlocking COVID Severity Through Cough Sounds: A Promising Breakthrough

The COVID-19 pandemic has left no stone unturned in its impact on human health. Scientists worldwide have been tirelessly analyzing the various facets of the virus, leading to revelations that can potentially reshape our understanding of the disease. A recent study conducted by a collaborative team from IBEC, Hospital del Mar, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), CIBER-BBN, and CIBERES has unveiled a groundbreaking discovery Рthe link between the sound of cough and the severity of COVID-19. This innovative research provides hope for more accurate patient categorization and monitoring, marking a significant step forward in our battle against the virus.

The Ongoing Battle with COVID

The COVID-19 virus, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has manifested itself in various forms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe pneumonia. While most individuals experience milder symptoms and recover within weeks, some face more severe illness, with pneumonia often leading to unfavorable outcomes. Diagnosing and predicting the severity of the disease has predominantly relied on costly and less accessible imaging methods, including radiography, ultrasound, and computed tomography.

The Need for Simplicity and Accessibility

With the ongoing global health crisis, there arises a pressing need for a simpler, more accessible prognostic tool that enables healthcare providers to identify patients at risk of developing severe disease. Such a tool could streamline patient triage and facilitate early intervention, even in home or primary care settings.

Cough Sounds: A Potential Prognostic Tool

The research team embarked on a journey to explore the potential of cough sounds as a predictive tool for assessing the risk of severe pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. The study, conducted between April 2020 and May 2021 at Hospital del Mar, involved the collection of smartphone recordings of voluntary coughing sounds from 70 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Crucially, these recordings were made within the first 24 hours after the patients’ admission to the hospital.

Analyzing Cough Sounds

The collected cough sounds underwent an in-depth acoustic analysis by IBEC. The results were nothing short of groundbreaking, with significant differences in cough sounds detected based on the severity of the patient’s respiratory condition. These findings correlated with previous imaging tests and the need for supplemental oxygen.

The Promise of Cough Sound Analysis

This innovative approach offers a promising path forward. By analyzing cough sounds, healthcare providers can categorize COVID-19 patients into severity levels, distinguishing between mild, moderate, and severe cases. Furthermore, this tool can be instrumental in monitoring patients with persistent COVID-19, ensuring timely intervention and care adjustments.


As we continue to grapple with the multifaceted challenges posed by COVID-19, this research offers a glimmer of hope. The simplicity and accessibility of cough sound analysis could revolutionize the way we assess and manage the severity of the disease. With early intervention and precise patient categorization, we can better navigate the complex landscape of COVID-19, ultimately moving closer to controlling the impact of the virus on global health.

How does analyzing cough sounds help determine COVID-19 severity?

Analyzing cough sounds provides valuable insights into the severity of a patient’s respiratory condition. Differences in cough sounds can indicate whether a patient has a mild, moderate, or severe case of COVID-19.

Why is a simpler prognostic tool needed for COVID-19?

Current diagnostic methods for COVID-19 severity often rely on costly imaging techniques. A simpler and more accessible tool is essential for efficient patient triage and timely intervention.

What was the research methodology behind this study?

The study collected smartphone recordings of cough sounds from 70 COVID-19 patients within 24 hours of their hospital admission. These recordings underwent acoustic analysis to identify patterns related to disease severity.