Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), medical humanitarian firm, has received $1.3 million (Sh131.37 million) Google Artificial Intelligence Impact Challenge grant to develop a smartphone app for doctors to remotely diagnose antibiotic resistance among poor households.
The cash disabused through the entity’s innovation arm, MSF Foundation, targets clinicians and doctors.
“The app, known as ASTapp, would use image processing and artificial intelligence technology to make it easier for non-expert microbiologists to interpret tests that measure resistance to antibiotics,” MSF said in a statement. “This will help guide clinicians on the best course of treatment and better ensure that patients are receiving the most appropriate antibiotics.”
Antibiotic resistance (ABR), a public health challenge across the world, is projected to be the leading cause of death globally in 50 years.
“One of the main problems fueling resistance is the difficulty in identifying it in parts of the world lacking diagnostic laboratories or the capacity to read and interpret antibiograms tests,” the MSF said.
“These tests determine the susceptibility of bacteria to available antimicrobial medicines and require interpretation by microbiologists, which are in short supply in low-resource settings. This leads to use of broad spectrum antibiotics and inadequate treatment that is not adapted to a patients’ specific sensitivity and resistance profile.”