In early June, at the invitation of the European Commission to Brussels (Belgium), I toured some fascinating AI and blockchain-based projects, which the Commission is funding. Across industrial sectors, from healthcare to energy, from construction to retail, engineers are creating new technologies with potentially disruptive implications for the current architectural order of the global economy. One of the technologies, an “AI doctor”, shows great promise for the future of healthcare in Africa.
The solution is called CareAi: an AI-powered computing system anchored on blockchain that can diagnose infectious diseases, such as malaria, typhoid fever, and tuberculosis, within seconds. The platform is engineered to serve the invisible demographic of migrants, ethnic minorities, and those unregistered within traditional healthcare systems. By bringing AI and blockchain together, CareAi uses an anonymous distributed healthcare architecture to deliver health services to patients anonymously. This makes it possible for these invisible cohorts to get access to basic healthcare, and useful contextual information without compromising their identities, for fear of deportation. This is important, as without access to health services, these communities might pose health risks to the wider population.
CareAi has three components, which include the machine, a finger prick, and a lab-on-a-chip — a mature technology that was originally pioneered by George Whitesides, a chemistry Professor at Harvard University. To use it, a finger is pricked for a drop of blood, and the blood is deposited onto the chip, which is then inserted into the machine. The blood sample is anonymized and then analyzed by the CareAi AI-based health assistant that references a vast array of medical and diagnosing libraries, dispensing advice with a corresponding rating of confidence. CareAi’s diagnosis is based on a statistical analysis of all of that data: if I see “A” in your blood and medical journals say that means you have malaria, CareAi can say whether you have malaria up to a certain confidence level. Based on the blood sample, the device would diagnose a disease where one exists. The outcome is delivered on the machine screen with a printout, providing confidence of analysis and further actions which may include prescriptions at participating pharmacies, or escalation for medical attention with NGO doctors who supply anonymous medical treatments.
Image Credit: KATERYNA/KONSCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images
News This Week
Experts have discovered what they believe is the world’s most mutated COVID strain – and there’s one detail in particular that has scientists worried. Scientists have detected what is believed to be the world’s [...]
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, likely does not directly infect the brain but can still inflict significant neurological damage, according to a new study from neuropathologists, neurologists, and neuroradiologists at Columbia University Vagelos [...]
ANSTO has contributed to a comprehensive investigation of a promising type of nanoparticle that could potentially be used for intractable brain cancers in a combined therapy. The study, which was led by Dr. Moeava [...]
The immune response needed to protect people against reinfection with the coronavirus will be explored in a new human challenge trial, researchers have revealed. Human challenge trials involve deliberately exposing healthy people to a [...]
Researchers from Duke University are developing a flu shot with the new technology that was used for two coronavirus vaccines. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna shots use part of the virus's genetic code [...]
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have shown the potential of repurposing an existing and cheap drug into a long-acting injectable therapy that could be used to treat Covid-19. In a paper published in the journal Nanoscale, [...]
Researchers have developed a new superbug-destroying coating that could be used on wound dressings and implants to prevent and treat potentially deadly bacterial and fungal infections. The material is one of the thinnest antimicrobial [...]
The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control [...]
The South African coronavirus variant is better at "breaking through" the defences of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than other forms of the virus, Israeli experts said Sunday. However, one of the authors told AFP that [...]
EPFL scientists have developed AI-powered nanosensors that let researchers track various kinds of biological molecules without disturbing them. The tiny world of biomolecules is rich in fascinating interactions between a plethora of different agents [...]
A team of researchers from the Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern and the Federal Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have assessed virus growth and activation of the cellular [...]
Researchers at Brown University have succeeded in creating the first wireless, implantable, rechargeable, long-term brain-computer interface. The wireless BCIs have been implanted in pigs and monkeys for over 13 months without issue, and human [...]
The coronavirus outbreak made household names of companies like Moderna Inc. and BioNTech SE, whose shots offered hope for ending the pandemic. Now a new wave of vaccines is on the horizon that may get the [...]
Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a new way of using nanomaterials to identify and enrich skeletal stem cells—a discovery which could eventually lead to new treatments for major bone fractures and [...]
In March 2020, Hannu Rajaniemi pivoted his biotech company Helix Nanotechnologies' focus from cancer therapies to Covid-19 vaccines. The role biotech start-ups can play in a pandemic Rajaniemi originally co-founded Helix Nanotechnologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts in [...]
The rapid mass testing strategy costing just £1 a day per child can get children back to school and economies up and running, according to experts. That is the small price of the [...]