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FIND supporting rapid diagnostic tests for malaria & COVID-19

17 June 2020 | News

Partners With Scanwell Health To Develop Mobile Technology

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and US based Scanwell Health announced a new partnership for developing a smartphone app that uses machine learning and computer vision algorithms to read rapid in vitro diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria, helping healthcare professionals interpret and record test results. The app will be compatible with many brands and types of both RDTs and mobile devices, enabling broad use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The Scanwell technology that interprets lateral-flow tests required by FIND is being used not only for malaria tests, but also serves as the basis for Scanwell's at-home antibody test for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This test is under development and currently awaiting emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Diagnostics are crucial to global elimination of malaria. Scanwell's app will aid in case detection and help to ensure that patients receive the appropriate treatment, so they can be cured, and the chain of transmission can be broken.

The Scanwell app will also support on-the-ground data collection and feed into regional and national digital surveillance systems designed to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR threatens the efficacy of antibiotics that we rely on every day, and its burden falls disproportionately on low- and middle-income countries, where health systems are often weak, resources are stretched, and "just in case" antibiotic prescribing is common.

The partnership between FIND and Scanwell Health was inked in late 2019 following a robust request for proposal process that resulted in submission of 16 technologies that fit criteria defined by FIND. FIND will be testing the first iteration of the Scanwell Health app at healthcare facilities in collaboration with partners in three LMICs.

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