RAPID, we can save lives.
IanXen RAPID has been developed as a diagnostic tool for malaria that has a very high potential for revolutionising the diagnosis of the disease through technology.
Quick diagnosis of malaria is vital in its treatment and the speed and accuracy that IanXen RAPID can bring to the process can save lives and help eradicate malaria from entire regions.
We want to prove that we can have a significant effect on malaria case management throughout one of these regions. The first study of this kind will take place on Bangka Island in Indonesia. With this study, we have set ourselves the goal of eradicating malaria from the entirety of Bangka Island during malaria high season.
We are a small team located in London and Jakarta.
IanXen was co-founded by our CTO Professor David Mendels and our CEO Jean Viry-Babel. Professor Mendels is a professor of mobile, micro and nanotechnology at Surya University in Jakarta, and through his understanding of the limitations of current malaria diagnosis, came up with an innovative solution of replacing the gold standard of microscope and microscopist with an iPhone and portable microscope. The app and protocol he has developed can automate microscopic analysis of malaria blood slides and diagnose the parasite in less than a second.
The Support We Need
We need support simply for the logistics costs of delivering this project on Bangka Island.
These costs include deploying the IanXen Rapid kit in four locations, paying those employed in order to deliver the project, travel costs and publications costs. Examples of the basic medical supplies needed are: packets of 70% alcohol wipes, blood lancets, the Giemsa staining solution, microscope slides, and deployment costs! It all adds up, but the cost is low relative to the impact we will be making on Bangka, let alone this project's potential as a springboard to similar projects across the world.
Why IanXen RAPID: Impact, technology and potential.
The potential that this technology has for a global revolution in malaria diagnosis is enormous.
3.3 billion people live at risk of malaria across 106 malaria-endemic countries. Although the risk is widespread, cases and deaths are concentrated in Africa. In 2010, over 80% of 216 million estimated cases and over 90% of 655,000 estimated deaths occurred in Africa.
Prompt diagnosis and effective treatment are the cornerstones of malaria case management; patients recover rapidly if diagnosed and treated early.
However, if treatment is ineffective or delayed, malaria may rapidly progress to severe disease. In the past, malaria was commonly treated presumptively (i.e., based on symptoms alone). However, this led to massive overtreatment, because malaria symptoms (e.g., fever, headache, and fatigue) are non-specific. A diagnostic test is the only way to confirm that a patient is infected with malaria. In light of the declining burden of malaria, diagnosis of malaria using a test is increasingly critical as a growing proportion of fevers will not be caused by malaria.There are a few commercially available Rapid Detection Tests (RDTs), which are simple dipsticks. However, their results lack confidence, and they are hampered by specificity (ie. indentifying a certain strain of malaria requires a different RDT), time (they cannot be stored for long periods, and should not be stored at temperatures higher than 30°C (!). Add to these shortcomings a high price - $2 to $4 - and you have an opportunity for a better, cheaper and reusable method that does not require any other expertise than knowing how to launch an app on a mobile phone.
IanXen RAPID is an autonomous, Rapid Automated Paludic Independent Diagnostic. It enables a fully automated detection of the malaria parasite on iPhone in less than a second. While this acronym can appear a little cryptic, it is easily explained:
- Rapid: the method makes use of the computational power of the iPhone to detect the presence of Malaria parasites at various stages of their development in both thin and thick blood films. A diagnostic takes less than 5 seconds, a full procedure involving patient and test logging together with the diagnostic less than 3 minutes;
- Automated: IanXen RAPID leverages many iPhone functionalities to provide full automation of the diagnostic. This includes easy logging of a new patient or recalling a former patient through facial recognition, logging of the blood sample through barcodes, diagnostic by a sophisticated automated image analysis, report compilation, encryption, and data exchange. IanXen RAPID also enables automated renewal of consumables at your location, making deployments in remote areas practical, finally;
- Paludic: while we have other parasites (and eventually bacteria/viruses) on the roadmap, IanXen RAPID is only targeting Malaria at the moment. We have proven accurate detection of both plasmodium Falciparum and plasmodium Vivax using the RAPID;
- Independent: the analysis is performed on an iPhone, completely independently from the presence or absence of a network. The IanXen RAPID comes as a kit in a Pelican box that is complete: iPhone, portable microscope attachment, solar power source, app, lancets, microscope slides and all the fluids needed for a diagnostic are all included;
- Diagnostic: we are confident that the RAPID is the best test on the market, in terms of both accuracy and price. The large number of tests and durability of the RAPID makes it an extremely competitive technology, with a cost per test ten to twenty times lower than other technologies.
IanXen RAPID is an extremely accurate test method (in excess of 98%), and is being industrialized. We believe it represents a major milestone in the future of health and sanitation in developing countries. This impact, even just on Bangka, can be very significant.
Here is a technical description of the project on Bangka Island written by Professor Mendels:
This project introduces the study of a novel automated detection method in four remote villages located in Bangka Island, Indonesia. The method automates the classic optical microscopy protocol by making use of a bespoke image analysis treatment on an iPhone. It is based on a complex combination of color filters, morphological filters, and artificial intelligence. The resulting software, packaged as a mobile app, advantageously leverages several functions of the iPhone. First, both cameras are used: the back camera, with its high definition, is used to capture the micro graphs of blood samples. The front camera is used to identify the patient (photograph of his/her portrait and facial recognition to identify his/her presence in the database). The GPS and internal clock are used to tag the results with location and an unambiguous time stamp. The method has been demonstrated, in the laboratory, to be extremely effective at detecting both p. falciparum and p. vivax. In this study, we will deploy four complete kits in remote, endemic areas in Bangka Island, Indonesia. Repeated testing over a period of 3 full months during the high season of malaria will enable us to determine the suitability of the test and its accuracy in the field, the selectivity of the test, the influence of the operator, the quality of the training given to the operator, and the influence of regional data. In this study we voluntarily put ourselves in the most extreme conditions: high humidity, high temperatures, and an equal proportion of the two most severe strands of malaria, plasmodium falciparum and plasmodium vivax.Risks & Challenges
Perks & Rewards
We can offer exciting perks for donations of all different sizes.
We endeavour to make our supporters feel just as involved in the lives we are saving as our staff. Small donations will receive honourable mentions on our newsletter and social media feeds. Among other perks, medium and large sized donations will have the chance to attend a webinar with Professor Mendels who is managing the project in order to keep up to date. The greatest reward however is the knowledge that even the smallest donation helps save lives and move forward a revolution in the diagnosis of a disease which is a widespread global killer that hits children the hardest.