Microscopes provider Motic Electric Group’s subsidiary Motic China Group has collaborated with the Global Good Fund to create and distribute a new microscope, EasyScan GO, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to fight against drug-resistant malaria.

EasyScan GO features machine learning technology developed by Global Good to detect malaria parasite and is expected to allow standardised diagnoses for effective tracking of the mutating disease.

Existing methods for detection of severe and drug-resistant cases of malaria require analysis of a blood sample by an expert microscopist.

The new microscope uses custom image recognition software to automatically identify and count the parasites in a blood smear within 20 minutes, eliminating the need for trained personnel.

Global Good and Research Intellectual Ventures executive vice-president Maurizio Vecchione said: “This collaboration, combining Global Good’s impact invention focus with Motic’s engineering, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, represents the type of innovative healthcare solution that is needed to improve health in emerging and low-income markets.”

“The machine learning algorithm of the microscope is reported to be as reliable as an expert microscopist.”

Following field testing of an early prototype of EasyScan GO, the machine learning algorithm of the microscope is reported to be as reliable as an expert microscopist.

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Motic China vice-president Richard Yeung said: “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.”

The microscope is currently being trained to identify all malaria species, as well as other parasites and traits that are usually detected through a blood smear such as Chagas disease, microfilaria and sickle cell.

The firms also intend to evaluate the microscope’s application for additional sample types such as sputum, faeces and tissue, along with some types of cancer.