Is AI Model Interpretable to Combat with COVID? An Empirical Study on Severity Prediction Task

by   Han Wu, et al.

Black-box nature hinders the deployment of many high-accuracy models in medical diagnosis. Putting one's life in the hands of models that medical researchers do not trust it's irresponsible. However, to understand the mechanism of a new virus, such as COVID-19, machine learning models may catch important symptoms that medical practitioners do not notice due to the surge of infected patients caused by a pandemic. In this work, the interpretation of machine learning models reveals a high CRP corresponds to severe infection, and severe patients usually go through a cardiac injury, which is consistent with medical knowledge. Additionally, through the interpretation of machine learning models, we find phlegm and diarrhea are two important symptoms, without which indicate a high risk of turning severe. These two symptoms are not recognized at the early stage of the outbreak, but later our findings are corroborated by autopsies of COVID-19 patients. And we find patients with a high NTproBNP have a significantly increased risk of death which does not receive much attention initially but proves true by the following-up study. Thus, we suggest interpreting machine learning models can offer help to understanding a new virus at the early stage of an outbreak.


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