UAE develops an AI-based laser testing tool for covid-19 detection


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Abu Dhabi: Quant Lase Imaging Lab, the medical research branch of the International Holdings Company (IHC), declares that it has developed laser-based AI tech equipment, which facilitates much faster screenings, with test results available in few seconds, and that too allowing mass testing. 

This innovative technology will strengthen the UAE’s position as a center for research and innovation, as scientists around the world strive to devise a faster testing method for patients suspected of having been infected with the coronavirus and identify potential carriers before acquiring the virus. This advance will allow for “mass-scale screening,” changing the entire dimension of tracking and the speed with which the workforce can be addressed. 

UAE Minister of Health and Prevention Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, expressed his thoughts, saying, “We are continually following innovations related to the early and rapid detection of COVID–19. And, the healthcare agents have been intently observing the advancement of trials with QuantLase to test the equipment. We are happy to see an innovative technology that works, and that will secure our people completely.” 

About screening procedures 

“The equipment, which uses a CMOS detector, will enable large-scale screening with results available in seconds,” says, Dr. Pramod Kumar, who leads the team of researchers at the Emirati research laboratory. Further, he says that their DPI [diffractive phase interferometry] technique, based on optical phase modulation, is capable of giving a signal of infection in a few seconds. Moreover, the device is not only suitable to use in hospitals, but can also be used in public places such as movie theaters and shopping malls. With just a little hands-on training, it can be used for internal testing and monitoring. 

While explaining about the essential role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the diagnostic system, Dr. Kumar said that an advanced AI image model predicts the result of each image with precision, speed, and scale. This is especially important in large-scale test programs, where large numbers of images need to be analyzed accurately and efficiently.  The lab is utilizing G42, a leading artificial intelligence and cloud computing organization, to further improve the laser program. 

Trials were conducted

Commenting on the development part, Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, IHC Board of Directors member expresses: “IHC is glad to contribute to the powerful endeavors made by UAE pioneers in battling the COVID-19 outburst, particularly in regards to testing and awareness.” 

To this, Dr. Kumar adds, “With the initial 1,000 tests, we refined our trials after that applied it to the rest of the tests. He also adds, “The procedure underwent few stages, and more recently it was being trialed on a wide scale as per the current testing technique.” 

Soon to be release

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic in March, scientists around the world have been trying to develop a technology that not only reduce sthe diagnostic time but allows physicians to focus on patients as needed. It currently takes several hours to diagnose a case of COVID-19. 

The laboratory hopes to launch the product on the market in a few months, added Dr. Kumar. Until now, the machine has produced highly accurate results in an optimal control setting, Dr. Kumar said. “When it comes to early-stage detection, our DPI technique can detect as soon as the blood cell is infected. Our goal is to achieve the highest level of precision. “Achieving scientific breakthroughs that focus on people’s well-being is one of the pillars of the National Strategy for Advanced innovation announced by the UAE government in February 2018. The new strategy also requires the collaboration of major international institutions and companies specialized in the field of innovation.

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