Automated Optical Diagnostics Microscopy

Together Global Good and IV Lab aim to develop and adapt diagnostic platforms to address a range of diseases in low resource settings.

If you’ve been following IV Lab and our partners at Global Good, you likely know that we have been working on new disease diagnostics technologies for some time. Despite current available treatments, millions of people are infected and many die from infectious diseases every year, in part because they lack access to affordable, accurate, and timely diagnostics tests.

Together Global Good and IV Lab aim to develop and adapt diagnostic platforms to address a range of diseases in low resource settings. The teams hope to provide primary-care level health facilities, workers and the communities they serve the tools needed to diagnosis infectious diseases that are simple to use and at a low cost.  

Microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained blood slides has generally been considered the gold standard in disease diagnostics. Microscopy, however, relies heavily on the knowledge, level of skill, and judgment of the user, which could affect its sensitivity and specificity. In low-resource settings such as remote health outposts, it is difficult to find, train, and support proficient microscopists, especially those capable of detecting early infection.

One of the diagnostic platforms scientists and engineers at IV Lab are developing is an automated optical diagnostic microscope. The Autoscope aims to be a low-cost, portable, fast, automated microscope that can detect stained parasites using image-processing algorithms. The only human intervention needed is placing a slide in the machine.

Recently, three Autoscope prototypes were in the field in Thailand to gather data and user feedback. Check back for lessons learned and more about the Autoscope on our blogs.