New bag of deep visual words based features to classify chest x-ray images for COVID-19 diagnosis

Chiranjibi Sitaula, Sunil Aryal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Because the infection by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (COVID-19) causes the Pneumonia-like effect in the lung, the examination of Chest X-Rays (CXR) can help diagnose the disease. For automatic analysis of images, they are represented in machines by a set of semantic features. Deep Learning (DL) models are widely used to extract features from images. General deep features extracted from intermediate layers may not be appropriate to represent CXR images as they have a few semantic regions. Though the Bag of Visual Words (BoVW)-based features are shown to be more appropriate for different types of images, existing BoVW features may not capture enough information to differentiate COVID-19 infection from other Pneumonia-related infections.

Methods: In this paper, we propose a new BoVW method over deep features, called Bag of Deep Visual Words (BoDVW), by removing the feature map normalization step and adding the deep features normalization step on the raw feature maps. This helps to preserve the semantics of each feature map that may have important clues to differentiate COVID-19 from Pneumonia.

Results: We evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed BoDVW features in CXR image classification using Support Vector Machine (SVM) to diagnose COVID-19. Our results on four publicly available COVID-19 CXR image datasets (D1, D2, D3, and D4) reveal that our features produce stable and prominent classification accuracy (82.00% on D1, 87.86% on D2, 87.92% on D3, and 83.22% on D4), particularly differentiating COVID-19 infection from other Pneumonia.

Conclusion: Our method could be a very useful tool for the quick diagnosis of COVID-19 patients on a large scale.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Information Science and Systems
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bag of deep visual words (BoDVW)
  • Bag of visual words (BoVW)
  • COVID-19
  • Chest X-ray
  • Deep features
  • SARS-CoV-2

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