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UAE develops rapid coronavirus laser testing tech

ABU DHABI, May 20, 2020

UAE-based QuantLase Imaging Lab, the medical-research arm of International Holdings Company (IHC) has developed novel equipment which enables faster mass screenings, with test results available in seconds and allowing testing on a wider scale.

The technology will reinforce the UAE’s position as a hub of research and innovation, as scientists around the world scramble to devise a faster method of testing for patients suspected to have been infected with the coronavirus and potentially identifying carriers before they become infectious.

This break-through will enable ‘Mass-scale screening’, changing the whole dimension of tracing and the speed with which workforces can be approached.

Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said: "We are always following innovations related to the early and rapid detection of COVID–19. The government is keen on supporting initiatives that help the healthcare system in the UAE. Health officials have been closely monitoring the progress of trials with QuantLase in order to test this equipment. We are proud to see a technology that works and that will help to protect our people better."

"The equipment, which uses a CMOS detector, will enable mass-scale screening with results made available in seconds," said Dr Pramod Kumar, who leads the team of researchers at the lab which has been studying the change in cell structure of the virus-infected blood.

"In fact, our laser-based DPI (Diffractive Phase Interferometry) technique, based on optical-phase modulation, is able to give a signature of infection within a few seconds. What’s more, it is user-friendly, non-invasive and low-cost. The device is suitable for use not only in hospitals and public places like cinemas and shopping malls, but with a ‘little hands-on training’ it can be used for in-house testing and monitoring. We believe it will be a game-changer in tackling the spread of the coronavirus."

Explaining the critical role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the diagnostic system, Dr Kumar said that an advanced AI image-analysis model predicts the outcome of each image with precision, speed and scale. This is especially critical in large-scale testing programs, where a massive number of images need to be analysed with accuracy and efficiency. The lab is using G42, a leading AI and Cloud Computing company, to further enhance the laser program.

Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, member of the Board of Directors at IHC, said: "IHC is proud to play a role in contributing to the robust efforts made by the UAE leadership in fighting the Covid-19 outbreak, especially with regards to testing and raising awareness."

"With the first 1,000 tests, we refined our experiment and then applied it to the rest of the trials," Dr Kumar said. "The process passed through several stages, and most recently was being trialled on a large scale, in line with current testing procedures."

The lab hopes to be able to roll out the product in the market in a few months, Dr Kumar added. So far, the machine has produced results with high accuracy in optimal control setup, according to Dr Kumar. – TradeArabia News Service




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