World’s first AI-powered rapid COVID-19 antigen test launched in the UAE

The smartphone-enabled LooK SPOT test scans for nucleocapsid protein from SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs, with results reportedly available in five to eight minutes.
By Ahmed El Sherif
08:42 am
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COVID-19, artificial intelligence, Laipac Technology, YAS Pharmaceuticals, Pure Health, IOMT

Credit: Laipac Technology

Two UAE-based health companies have partnered with Canada’s Laipac Technology to launch the “world’s first” artificial intelligence (AI)-powered rapid COVID-19 antigen test.

YAS Pharmaceuticals and Pure Health will be working with the Ontario-based Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) specialist to provide an “intelligent and innovative way to deploy technologies to better protect the health of people across the region,” Laipac announced in a statement. 

Currently being showcased at the 2021 International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, the LooK SPOT features a lateral flow immunoassay intended for the qualitative detection of nucleocapsid protein from SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs. The cassette is then connected to a smartphone in order for a special application to scan for signs of COVID-19.

“LooK SPOT's AI Algorithm has high accuracy and can identify the colour signal on tests in low positive cases when human eyes cannot, therefore eliminating the human error and manual process done with other antigen tests available in the market,” said Diego Lai, co-founder and CEO of Laipac.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The European CE-IVD approved LooK SPOT works by using a nasal sample collected from one inch in the nostril. The cassette is then attached to a smartphone that has the LooK PASS app installed.

Results are apparently delivered within five to eight minutes, with 97.4% sensitivity and 98.3% specificity in detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to the company, the test is also able to detect the new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which was reportedly first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The LooK PASS app is available on both Android and iOS. 

Looking ahead, it is hoped that Laipac will work with Pure Health to “provide a full API integration with multiple IT applications and travel applications for real-time reporting.” At present, negative test results generate a QR code on the app that may be used as a pass to “enter a facility, event, gatherings or used for transport facilities”. It is not clear if this type of pass has been recognised by the UAE’s health authorities, however.

ON THE RECORD

“LooK SPOT reduces healthcare responders’ cognitive load by providing accurate test results in an easy-to-read format,” added Lai. “[It] has been designed with a tactical edge to fight COVID-19.”

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