COVID-19-CT-CXR: A Freely Accessible and Weakly Labeled Chest X-Ray and CT Image Collection on COVID-19 From Biomedical Literature

IEEE Trans Big Data. 2021 Mar 1;7(1):3-12. doi: 10.1109/tbdata.2020.3035935. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


The latest threat to global health is the COVID-19 outbreak. Although there exist large datasets of chest X-rays (CXR) and computed tomography (CT) scans, few COVID-19 image collections are currently available due to patient privacy. At the same time, there is a rapid growth of COVID-19-relevant articles in the biomedical literature, including those that report findings on radiographs. Here, we present COVID-19-CT-CXR, a public database of COVID-19 CXR and CT images, which are automatically extracted from COVID-19-relevant articles from the PubMed Central Open Access (PMC-OA) Subset. We extracted figures, associated captions, and relevant figure descriptions in the article and separated compound figures into subfigures. Because a large portion of figures in COVID-19 articles are not CXR or CT, we designed a deep-learning model to distinguish them from other figure types and to classify them accordingly. The final database includes 1,327 CT and 263 CXR images (as of May 9, 2020) with their relevant text. To demonstrate the utility of COVID-19-CT-CXR, we conducted four case studies. (1) We show that COVID-19-CT-CXR, when used as additional training data, is able to contribute to improved deep-learning (DL) performance for the classification of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 CT. (2) We collected CT images of influenza, another common infectious respiratory illness that may present similarly to COVID-19, and fine-tuned a baseline deep neural network to distinguish a diagnosis of COVID-19, influenza, or normal or other types of diseases on CT. (3) We fine-tuned an unsupervised one-class classifier from non-COVID-19 CXR and performed anomaly detection to detect COVID-19 CXR. (4) From text-mined captions and figure descriptions, we compared 15 clinical symptoms and 20 clinical findings of COVID-19 versus those of influenza to demonstrate the disease differences in the scientific publications. Our database is unique, as the figures are retrieved along with relevant text with fine-grained descriptions, and it can be extended easily in the future. We believe that our work is complementary to existing resources and hope that it will contribute to medical image analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dataset, code, and DL models are publicly available at

Keywords: COVID-19; CT; chest X-ray.