VisionQuest has been awarded a $2M grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to commercialize ASPIRE, a device that uses AI for cerebral malaria diagnosis.
Every year, up to 100,000 children in Africa die from cerebral malaria. Up to a third of fatal cases could be prevented by a more accurate diagnosis of the disease. ASPIRE includes AI software to detect retinal biomarkers (malarial retinopathy) that are highly specific to cerebral malaria, using digital fundus images captured by a low-cost retinal camera. The software’s diagnostic performance has been reported in Nature. ASPIRE provides a user-friendly, ergonomically suitable, and affordable product, intended to be used by minimally trained health-care providers, which addresses the scarcity of ophthalmologists or specialists in the affected region.
VisionQuest will use this NIH award to secure regulatory clearances and commercialize ASPIRE, which is currently being tested at nine malaria clinics in Malawi, Zambia, and Kenya. This award will enable VisionQuest to expand its use in clinics across four more countries: Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Ghana. These countries will be the springboard to access all malaria-affected countries in Africa.
VisionQuest expects to have a market-ready product by end of 2022 and begin sales in early 2023. This device will be made available to government hospitals, primary-care clinics, and community healthcare facilities, saving thousands of lives and reducing the effects of malaria throughout the continent. Through this project, VisionQuest is working not only to further its mission of ending preventable blindness, but also to use AI technology to improve the health and impact lives beyond vision.
Read the full press release here.
Visit the ASPIRE webpage to learn more.