Unsupervised Deep learning-based Feature Fusion Approach for Detection and Analysis of COVID-19 using X-ray and CT Images

Vinayakumar Ravi1, *, Tuan D. Pham1
1 Center for Artificial Intelligence, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Ravi and Pham.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Center for Artificial Intelligence, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Khobar, Saudi Arabia; E-mail:



This study investigates an unsupervised deep learning-based feature fusion approach for the detection and analysis of COVID-19 using chest X-ray (CXR) and Computed tomography (CT) images.


The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected millions of people all around the world and the disease is diagnosed by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which suffers from a lower viral load, and sampling error, etc. Computed tomography (CT) and chest X-ray (CXR) scans can be examined as most infected people suffer from lungs infection. Both CT and CXR imaging techniques are useful for the COVID-19 diagnosis at an early stage and it is an alternative to the RT-PCR test.


The manual diagnosis of CT scans and CXR images are labour-intensive and consumes a lot of time. To handle this situation, many AI-based solutions are researched including deep learning-based detection models, which can be used to help the radiologist to make a better diagnosis. However, the availability of annotated data for COVID-19 detection is limited due to the need for domain expertise and expensive annotation cost. Also, most existing state-of-the-art deep learning-based detection models follow a supervised learning approach. Therefore, in this work, we have explored various unsupervised learning models for COVID-19 detection which does not need a labelled dataset.


In this work, we propose an unsupervised deep learning-based COVID-19 detection approach that incorporates the feature fusion method for performance enhancement. Four different sets of experiments are run on both CT and CXR scan datasets where convolutional autoencoders, pre-trained CNNs, hybrid, and PCA-based models are used for feature extraction and K-means and GMM techniques are used for clustering.


The maximum accuracy of 84% is achieved by the model Autoencoder3-ResNet50 (GMM) on the CT dataset and for the CXR dataset, both Autoencoder1-VGG16 (KMeans and GMM) models achieved 70% accuracy.


Our proposed deep unsupervised learning, feature fusion-based COVID-19 detection approach achieved promising results on both datasets. It also outperforms four well-known existing unsupervised approaches.

Keywords: CXR, COVID-19, CT images, X-ray, SARS-CoV 2, MERS.