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A Novel Explainable CNN Model for Screening COVID-19 on X-ray Images

Hicham Moujahid1, Bouchaib Cherradi1,2,*, Oussama El Gannour1, Wamda Nagmeldin3, Abdelzahir Abdelmaboud4, Mohammed Al-Sarem5,6, Lhoussain Bahatti1, Faisal Saeed7, Mohammed Hadwan8,9

1 EEIS Laboratory, ENSET of Mohammedia, Hassan II University of Casablanca, Mohammedia, 28820, Morocco
2 STIE Team, CRMEF Casablanca-Settat, The Provincial Section of El Jadida, El Jadida, 24000, Morocco
3 Department of Information Systems, College of Computer Engineering and Sciences, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Al-Kharj, 11942, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Information Systems, King Khalid University, Muhayel Aseer, 61913, Saudi Arabia
5 College of Computer Science and Engineering, Taibah University, Medina, 42353, Saudi Arabia
6 Department of Computer Science, University of Sheba Region, Marib, 14400, Yemen
7 DAAI Research Group, Department of Computing and Data Science, School of Computing and Digital Technology, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, B4 7XG, UK
8 Department of Information Technology, College of Computer, Qassim University, Buraydah 51452, Saudi Arabia
9 Department of Computer Science, College of Applied Sciences, Taiz University, Taiz, 6803, Yemen

* Corresponding Author: Bouchaib Cherradi. Email:

Computer Systems Science and Engineering 2023, 46(2), 1789-1809.


Due to the rapid propagation characteristic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, manual diagnostic methods cannot handle the large number of infected individuals to prevent the spread of infection. Despite, new automated diagnostic methods have been brought on board, particularly methods based on artificial intelligence using different medical data such as X-ray imaging. Thoracic imaging, for example, produces several image types that can be processed and analyzed by machine and deep learning methods. X-ray imaging materials widely exist in most hospitals and health institutes since they are affordable compared to other imaging machines. Through this paper, we propose a novel Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) model (COV2Net) that can detect COVID-19 virus by analyzing the X-ray images of suspected patients. This model is trained on a dataset containing thousands of X-ray images collected from different sources. The model was tested and evaluated on an independent dataset. In order to approve the performance of the proposed model, three CNN models namely Mobile-Net, Residential Energy Services Network (Res-Net), and Visual Geometry Group 16 (VGG-16) have been implemented using transfer learning technique. This experiment consists of a multi-label classification task based on X-ray images for normal patients, patients infected by COVID-19 virus and other patients infected with pneumonia. This proposed model is empowered with Gradient-weighted Class Activation Mapping (Grad-CAM) and Grad-Cam++ techniques for a visual explanation and methodology debugging goal. The finding results show that the proposed model COV2Net outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.


Cite This Article

H. Moujahid, B. Cherradi, O. E. Gannour, W. Nagmeldin, A. Abdelmaboud et al., "A novel explainable cnn model for screening covid-19 on x-ray images," Computer Systems Science and Engineering, vol. 46, no.2, pp. 1789–1809, 2023.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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