Microscopy & Microtechniques
AI-Powered Microscope to Fight Drug-Resistant Malaria Introduced
Nov 13 2017 Read 4892 Times
Advanced microscope designer and manufacturer Motic China Group Co, Ltd, a subsidiary of Motic (Xiamen) Electric Group Co Ltd, have announced at MEDICA 2017 that it has partnered with the Global Good Fund, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates to develop technologies for humanitarian impact. This new partnership will create and distribute the EasyScan GO, a breakthrough AI-powered microscope to fight the spread of drug-resistant malaria and assist in case management. Using custom image recognition software, EasyScan GO is capable of identifying and counting malaria parasites in a blood smear in as little as 20 minutes.
“Malaria is one of the hardest diseases to identify on a microscope slide,” said David Bell, Director of Global Health Technologies supporting Global Good. “By putting machine learning-enabled microscopes in the hands of laboratory technicians, we can overcome two major barriers to combating the mutating parasite - improving diagnosis in case management and standardising detection across geographies and time.”
Accurate detection of severe and drug-resistant cases requires analysis of a blood smear by a WHO-certified expert microscopist, which takes roughly 20 minutes per slide. Automating the process with an intelligent microscope can alleviate the shortfall of trained personnel in under-resourced countries.
Field tests of an early prototype of the microscope presented at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) showed that the machine learning algorithm developed by Global Good is as reliable as an expert microscopist.
“Our goal in integrating Global Good’s advanced software into Motic’s high-quality, affordable digital slide scanner is to simplify and standardise malaria detection,” said Richard Yeung, Vice President of Motic China. “Success with the most difficult-to-identify disease paves the way for the EasyScan product line to excel at almost any microscopy task and to detect other major diseases that affect developed and emerging markets alike.”
EasyScan GO is currently being trained to recognise all species of malaria and the team is exploring its application to other parasites and traits commonly found on a blood film, including Chagas disease, microfilaria and sickle cell, as well as to other sample types, such as sputum, faeces and tissue. For more, please visit: www.easyscango.com.
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