Siemens Healthineers and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have teamed up to bring artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled tuberculosis (TB) screening to countries with high burdens, speeding up detection of the disease.
Announced at the World Health Summit held from 15-17 October in Berlin, Germany, the partnership will start its work in Indonesia, which has one of the highest tuberculosis burdens in the world, accounting for 9% of all global cases.
Siemens Healthineers and Global Fund said in a joint statement that AI can help with faster interpretation of routine chest X-rays, leading to more timely diagnosis of the disease.
The Global Fund received grants from 2021 to 2023 that add up to $157m to help end the tuberculosis epidemic in Indonesia.
Siemens Healthineers will work closely with India-based deep-learning tech company Qure.ai, which has developed AI-based X-ray software for TB. According to Qure.ai, its platform – which can be deployed over the cloud or on-premises – can help spot more TB cases in a quicker time in addition to costing less.
The company already has two US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearances for X-ray platforms identifying heart failure risks and lung conditions.
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A 2023 report by GlobalData predicts that global revenue for AI platforms across healthcare will reach $18.8bn by 2027.
Siemens Healthineers and Qure.AI will hand out free licences for the AI software and train healthcare workers on the ground to aid the AI implementation. The new scheme aims to increase screening capabilities so that people previously undetected with TB can be diagnosed. Siemens Healthineers states that one person with untreated TB can infect up to 15 people in a year.
Siemens Healthineers chief executive Bernd Montag said: “Today, we harness expertise in AI to supercharge screening programmes for more precise, earlier tuberculosis diagnosis for a greater number of people.”
Global Fund executive director Peter Sands said: “Patient finding and diagnosis continue to be key obstacles in the fight against tuberculosis. If we are to beat this disease, which still kills one person every two minutes, we urgently need more efficient and more accurate tools to detect it. We believe that AI is one of the answers.”