The global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), could be due to limited access to diagnostic tests and equipment. Currently, most diagnoses use the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and chest computed tomography (CT). However, challenges exist with CT use due to infection control, lack of CT availability in low- and middle-income countries, and low RT-PCR sensitivity. Passive microwave radiometry (MWR), a cheap, non-radioactive, and portable technology, has been used for cancer and other diseases' diagnoses. Here, we tested MWR use first time for the early diagnosis of pulmonary COVID-19 complications in a cross-sectional controlled trial in order to evaluate MWR use in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and healthy individuals. We measured the skin and internal temperature using 30 points identified on the body, for both lungs. Pneumonia and lung damage were diagnosed by both CT scan and doctors' diagnoses (pneumonia+/pneumonia-). COVID-19 was determined by RT-PCR (covid+/covid-). The best MWR results were obtained for the pneumonia-/covid- and pneumonia+/covid+ groups. The study suggests that MWR could be used for diagnosing pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. Since MWR is inexpensive, its use will ease the financial burden for both patients and countries. Clinical Trial Number: NCT04568525.
Keywords: COVID-19; CT; RT-PCR; infrared radiometry (IR); passive microwave radiometry (MWR).