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The global pandemic of COVID-19 is continuing to have a significant effect on the well-being of global population, increasing the demand for rapid testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Along with COVID-19, other etiologies of pneumonia and tuberculosis constitute additional challenges to the medical system. In this regard, the objective of this work is to develop a new deep transfer learning pipeline to diagnose patients with COVID-19, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, based on chest x-ray images. We observed in some instances DenseNet and Resnet have orthogonal performances. In our proposed model, we have created an extra layer with convolutional neural network blocks to combine these two models to establish superior performance over either model. The same strategy can be useful in other applications where two competing networks with complementary performance are observed. We have tested the performance of our proposed network on two-class (pneumonia vs healthy), three-class (including COVID-19), and four-class (including tuberculosis) classification problems. The proposed network has been able to successfully classify these lung diseases in all four datasets and has provided significant improvement over the benchmark networks of DenseNet, ResNet, and Inception-V3. These novel findings can deliver a state-of-the-art pre-screening fast-track decision network to detect COVID-19 and other lung pathologies.

Type

Journal article

Publication Date

08/04/2021

Keywords

eess.IV, eess.IV, cs.CV