Jama Nateqi, Founder & CEO of Symptoma.com

In Austria the current situation is serious: due to the steadily increasing numbers of people testing positive for Coronavirus, Austria went into another “hard” lockdown for three weeks straight, starting at the end of November 2020. All stores and service companies were closed, school and university take place virtually, and only essential meetings outside the own household are permitted. This was necessary because Austria had the most COVID-19 cases in the EU at the time. Its rate of infection even outpaced the USA.

Preparations for the second wave

The government made this decision in order to allow the families to come together over the Christmas holidays again and enjoy this special time of the year safely. Nevertheless, it is currently unclear if this will be possible at all. The healthcare system is reaching its limits and there is no end in sight. After the lockdown, the government plans to do mass testing to minimize the predicted second wave. However, especially during these times valuable resources like the PCR tests should be used systematically and wisely. Risk patients need to be identified and provided for as fast as possible in order to stop the spread of the virus.

Digital support for the capital

For this reason, the City of Vienna decided to collaborate with Symptoma: the first (and probably still only) artificial intelligence to determine the individual risk for COVID-19. Our team reacted quick at the beginning of this pandemic and added COVID-19 already in January to its current symptom checker covering +20,000 diseases and conditions. Before its communication, we conducted and transparently published our accuracy rates detecting COVID-19 cases in patients with symptoms at a rate of 96.32%. This study was peer-reviewed and made it into Nature, which published it a few days ago: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-75912-x.epdf

Symptoma has been validated in +40 million tests worldwide. We have been contracted by the European Commission, the Austrian Government, hospitals, health insurers and +80 companies to help screening citizens.

Now the City of Vienna has tasked Symptoma to screen its citizens for COVID-19, thus bringing relief to the overrun Corona Call Centre: https://coronavirus.wien.gv.at/site/symptomchecker/

People enter their symptoms, answer some questions, and finally see if their personal risk for COVID-19 is high, medium, or low. Based on the result they also get further instructions in the end.

Since the announcement of the collaboration by the City of Vienna in late November, Symptoma has been helping to digitally screen citizens for COVID-19 and to prioritise the PCR tests for risk patients. Within the first 24 hours our chatbot had already given 1.5 million questions and answers – the rush of users has been enormous. The citizens of Vienna welcomed the help of the artificial intelligence and showed that they are open for digital support. More and more Austrians now complain about the fact that Symptoma is only accessible for the citizens of Vienna and are seeking a nation-wide solution.

About Symptoma

Symptoma is a digital health assistant. It is based on 14 years of research and development by numerous medical doctors and data scientists. Patients and doctors enter symptoms, answer questions, and get a list of the possible causes – sorted by probability. In this way Symptoma helps patients and doctors to detect even extremely rare diseases.

With a reliability of 96.32 % in symptomatic COVID-19 patients, Symptoma’s AI has the highest diagnostic accuracy on the world market – even higher than e.g. Apple or the Center of Disease Control in the USA (CDC), as demonstrated in another peer-reviewed scientific publication.

Today Symptoma is available in 36 languages and serves 10 million users every month. This makes it the biggest symptom checker on the global market. The federal procurement agency now lists Symptoma as one of 5 options for corona testing – next to PCR tests. In accordance with the Council Directive 93/42/EEC Symptoma is certified as Medical Device Class I. The company has 3 locations in Austria and the team currently includes 70 talents worldwide.