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UKHSA to deploy AI Digital Reader for lateral flow tests


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Lateral flow test slide on smartphone
Image source: UnifAI Technology

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is taking steps to enable smartphones as a medical devices for reading lateral flow tests for Covid-19.

It has agreed on a £1.45 million contract with artificial intelligence company UnifAI Technology to use its AI Digital Reader under licence.

This follows authorisation of the solution by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It is the only one licensed so far to digitise lateral flow tests under the Test and Trace programme in selected settings.

It uses a proprietary deep learning AI capability in combination with the user’s smartphone camera to automate the reading and recording of Covid-19 lateral flow test results, effectively turning analogue and siloed tests into digital tests.

UnifAI said that trials showed it did this with an accuracy rate of 99.95%, higher than that of the human eye.

Bolstering capability

Professor Andrew Beggs, professor of surgery and cancer genetics at the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham and advisor to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “The UnifAI technology allows us to further bolster our capability to read lateral flow devices highly accurately and better than the human eye.

“With this we will continue to ensure the highest accuracy we can i reading lateral flow devices for Covid-19, reducing transmission and having a real world impact on the transmission of Covid.”

The Digital Reader was developed by UnifAI with support from Innovate UK.

UKAuthority has requested details of the implementation schedule.

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