Global Good and Motic Introduce AI-Powered Microscope to Fight Drug-Resistant Malaria
By Business Wire | 11.14.17
Partnership announced at Medica 2017 will create, distribute the EasyScan GO.
“This collaboration, combining Global Good’s impact invention focus with Motic’s engineering, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, represents the type of healthcare solution that is needed to improve health in emerging and low-income markets,” said Maurizio Vecchione, Intellectual Ventures’ executive vice president of Global Good and Research. “By distributing and commercializing an intelligent microscope, Global Good and Motic are creating a future where quality diagnosis of multiple diseases is within reach for everyone everywhere.”
“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 standardizing detection across geographies and time.”
Every year, malaria kills almost half a million people, and researchers estimate nearly half the world’s population is at risk of contracting it. The rapid spread of a multidrug-resistant strain in parts of Southeast Asia is a particularly alarming development detailed by researchers in a letter published recently in The Lancet.
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 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 standardize 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.”
The EasyScan GO is currently being trained to recognize all species of malaria and other parasites and traits commonly found on a blood film, including Chagas disease, microfilaria and sickle cell. The team will also explore its application to other sample types, such as sputum, feces and tissue, as well some forms of cancer.
Global Good is dedicated to inventing technology for humanitarian impact. Millions of people suffer and die each year in poor countries from causes that humanity has the scientific and technical ability to solve. Funded by Bill Gates and focused on a shared vision with Nathan Myhrvold, Global Good invents technology to solve some of humanity's most daunting problems. Global Good does this by collaborating with leading humanitarian organizations, forward-looking governments, research institutions, and corporate and private sector partners that bring our inventions to market.
Motic is a company specializing in manufacturing conventional compound microscopes.