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A downloadable mobile phone application capable of diagnosing different respiratory diseases may be able to help cut expatriate health insurance costs in the future by saving patients a trip to the doctor.
Researchers from the US and Australia are currently working on a new piece of software which aims to diagnose cold, flu, pneumonia and other conditions.
If successful, users would cough into their mobile phone microphone and receive a diagnosis a few seconds later.
The study group at Star Analytics say a cough can reveal a great deal about an illness and is often used as a diagnostic tool.
Its sound can, for example, tell doctors whether or not there is mucus on the lungs, or if the infection is viral or bacterial, they explain.
Since the diagnosis at this stage primarily relies on sound, the researchers suggest a piece of receptive software could do the work of a GP.
Funding for the project came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also awarded a grant to scientists exploring how chewing gum and chocolate could help the fight against malaria.
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