Antibiogo is a mobile application which aims to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance and guarantee equal access to correct diagnosis all over the world
In the context of the publication in the journal Nature Communications, the MSF Foundation and MSF issued a press release calling on all partners involved in the fight against antibiotic resistance to collaborate in order to make this application available to the greatest number of laboratories in resource-limited countries. This press release led to several articles, including one on the What's up Doc? website.
This Friday, February 19, the Antibiogo Project took on a new dimension. The results demonstrating the technical feasibility of the application were published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications. This new step will allow Antibiogo to be made available free of charge to a large number of laboratories in countries with limited resources to fight against antibiotic resistance.
After the first two phases of testing under the name ASTapp, the application used to fight antibiotic resistance developed by The MSF Foundation takes the final name of Antibiogo. It is under this name that Antibiogo started its third and final evaluation phase in order to test all facets of the application.
August 2020 was marked by the recruitment of Louis Laroche as Product Manager of the application. This arrival within the Foundation will make it possible to structure the ASTapp project and to perpetuate it over time.
Phase 2 of the app evaluation started in February in Amman. This essential step consists in testing the performance and the operation of the expert system in order to calibrate the processing of images by the artificial intelligence created in the app.
Clara Nordon, Director of the Foundation, and Nada Malou, clinical officer of the ASTapp project, went to San Francisco for the Google Impact Summit. This event brought together over four days the teams of the 20 Google Impact Challenge winning projects, projects selected out of 2602 entries for their use of AI for social, public health or education purposes. They were able to present the progress made by the ASTapp application at this Summit.
In Amman (Jordan), the ASTapp team launched the first phase of evaluation of the application. Following this, the second evaluation phase will begin in February 2020, again in Amman. Lastly, the third and final phase will take place between June and November 2020 and will be divided between three countries: Jordan, Mali and the Central African Republic.
The MSF Foundation received a Google scholarship as part of the “AI Global Impact Challenge”, which rewards projects based on artificial intelligence liable to have a positive impact on social problems. This prize of 1.3 million dollars will enable the MSF Foundation to accelerate the development of ASTapp, a free smartphone application designed to help to diagnose antibiotic resistance in low-resource settings.
The MSF Foundation developed ASTapp on the initiative of Amin Madoui, Research Scientist at UMR 8030 Genoscope Metabolic Genomics, CEA/CNRS/Univ Evry and Nada Malou, Microbiology Expert at Médecins Sans Frontières. This project was conducted in collaboration with Pr. Christophe Ambroise of the Laboratory of Mathematics and Modeling (LaMME) of the University of Evry. This collaboration allowed us to have access to premises and servers essential to the development of the project. Pr. Christophe Ambroise also provided us with the skills and expertise of engineers from LaMME and participated in the supervision of the application development manager, Marco Pascucci. We also worked in collaboration with Dr. Guilhem Royer from the Bacteriology and Hospital Hygiene Laboratory of the CHU Henri Mondor in Créteil, which allowed us to benefit from a wide variety of antibiogram photos accompanied by a microbiological expertise.
This project aims to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance and guarantee equal access to correct diagnosis all over the world.
As the World Health Organisation has declared, antimicrobial resistance is a major public health concern. Access to correct diagnosis of bacterial diseases is not generally available in low-resource settings. This leads to inappropriate treatment of the patient and to the selection of resistant strains due to non-rational use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Antibiogo is a free, offline and opensource (non-expert system) smartphone application that helps the laboratory technician to measure the inhibition diameters found on antibiograms and to interpret the results of this antibiogram which, originally, require an expert in microbiology. The idea of Antibiogo is not to replace microbiologists but to give the necessary analysis support in countries where there is no access to these highly qualified resources. This application works thanks to a mix of different technologies, including image analysis and artificial intelligence, which will allow, on our intervention sites but also beyond MSF projects, the implementation of quality bacteriology laboratories even in the absence of a microbiologist expert and in difficult contexts.
// Nada Malou
Microbiologist referee at MSF, Nada holds a doctorate in microbiology and is a specialist in infectious and tropical diseases.
She has been working since 2012 at MSF where she has set up the five MSF France bacteriology laboratories. She makes sure that the Antibiogo project meets the technical needs encountered on MSF sites.
// Louis Laroche
As Product Manager, Louis Laroche coordinates the various steps in the development of the application, from hierarchical structuring of the different functions to management of the technical implementation. He is also responsible for evaluating the conditions for open-source distribution of the application.
// Soriya Thach
As Lead Developer, Soriya Thach is the technical profile of Antibiogo. She provides technical expertize and ensure the development of all mobile and web apps of the project. She teams up with Louis Laroche to choose the functional and technical specifications for Antiobigo before implementing them and setting up the user deployment.
Bacteria can be resistant to one or more antibiotics; we then speak of multiresistant bacteria (MRB).
Massive and inappropriate use of antibiotics worldwide is leading to a considerable increase in antibiotic resistance phenomena.