20 June 2022: UnifAI Technology Limited, a UK based Artificial Intelligence company, today announces it has signed a contract to licence its AI Digital Reader to the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The Digital Reader uses cloud-based artificial intelligence to turn a typical smartphone onto a medical device for the accurate reading of lateral flow diagnostic tests.
In January, UnifAI Technology announced that the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”) has authorised for Special Use the UnifAI Technology Digital Reader as a medical device for the accurate reading of selected COVID-19 lateral flow diagnostic tests. UnifAI’s Digital Reader is the only AI digital reader for lateral flow devices currently authorised for use by MHRA.
COVID-19 lateral flow tests have become familiar to us all over the past two years. While the general public are no longer advised to use them, front line health workers and residents and staff in care homes continue to use the tests to help keep themselves and those around them safe.
However, on their own the tests are analogue and manual devices. Users can make mistakes in reading and recording the results, and if the result isn’t reported manually then potentially useful information on the prevalence and spread of COVID-19 can be lost.
Following a competitive tender, the UK Health Security Agency selected UnifAI Technology’s AI Digital Reader in April 2022 as the sole solution to help digitise the Test and Trace programme in selected settings, reducing human error in reading and recording results.
Prof Andrew Beggs, Professor of Surgery and Cancer Genetics at the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham and advisor to the UK 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 in reading lateral flow devices for COVID-19, reducing transmission and having a real world impact on the transmission of COVID”
About the UnifAI Technology Digital Reader
The UnifAI Technology Digital Reader uses a proprietary Deep Learning AI capability in combination with users’ smartphone cameras to automate the reading and recording of COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test results, turning analogue and siloed tests into digital tests. Through extensive trials with DHSC, UnifAI has demonstrated that the Digital Reader does this more accurately than the human eye with an accuracy rate of 99.95%.
The Digital Reader is an example of transparent and “explainable” AI which can demonstrate auditable outputs for every test, enabling key stakeholders such as UKHSA and the regulators to see that performance is delivered as intended. Initially developed for the COVID-19 pandemic, the underlying capability is test-agnostic and can be used to digitise a wide range of human and animal health conditions or environmental testing. UnifAI Technology is partnered with AWS and the solution is hosted in AWS cloud services, giving it virtually limitless scalability automatically and on-demand. Prof Camila Caiado, Professor in Statistics at Durham University and advisor to the UK Department of Health and Social Care, said:
“UnifAI Technology's Digital Reader shows that machine learning techniques can read point of need medical tests objectively and with high levels of sensitivity and specificity. What is really impressive about the Digital Reader is that how it works is demonstrable, auditable and explainable, unlike many other ‘black box’ AI solutions. This provides really helpful insight to help health practitioners understand results, lateral flow device manufacturers to manage their products, and regulators to provide oversight. UnifAI's technology will improve our response to COVID-19 and can help with future pandemic preparedness, and has the potential to improve remote diagnostics for other infectious diseases.”
The Digital Reader was developed by UnifAI Technology with support from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency which drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. Simon Edmonds, Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK said:
'We are delighted to see UnifAI Digital Reader technology being licenced with the UK Health Security Agency. Using AI to improve the accuracy of COVID-19 lateral flow tests was a great innovation to fund.'
About UnifAI Technology
UnifAI Technology is a UK registered artificial intelligence company with a mission to make AI accessible to everyone for real world applications, without the need for specialist data science skills. UnifAI focusses on using AI to improve the health and wellbeing of people, infrastructure and the environment.
In addition to improving healthcare outcomes, UnifAI has the world’s most advanced AI for monitoring real-time water quality. UnifAI is working with Wessex Water to monitor the impact of wastewater assets on natural water sources and provide real-time and predictive alerts for pollution and harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and Enterococci. This informs asset investment decisions, enhances safety for recreational users and reduces the cost of regulatory compliance.
In infrastructure, UnifAI is working with the British Standards Institution to develop real-time ESG Digital Assurance tools for monitoring and certifying the performance of assets and infrastructure against standards and other benchmarks. This is a critical capability enabling asset owners to report against Net Zero standards and protect the value of their portfolios.
Phil Hughes, Chairman and CEO of UnifAI Technology, said:
“Using artificial intelligence to improve the health and wellbeing of people is part of our company mission, and UnifAI has developed world class AI capabilities to support remote diagnostics. When the COVID-19 pandemic started to sweep the world we focussed our attention on how UnifAI Technology could use our capabilities to help.
“We have worked with Innovate UK and UKSHA to develop and test our AI Digital Reader, and have been appointed the sole provider of this capability to the UK Health Security Agency. WE are delighted to play our part in helping manage the risk COVID-19 still presents to front line health workers and vulnerable people.
“We believe that our capability can support any country with its current Covid-19 pandemic, and help them to better manage future pandemics. Beyond that, digital healthcare and remote diagnostics have the potential to play a significant role in delivering healthcare services at the point of need, making health services more accessible. UnifAI Technology will continue to develop its AI capabilities to help improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world, and we will always work to ensure that our capabilities are just as accessible in low and middle income countries as they are in the higher income areas such as the UK, Europe and USA.”