Artificial intelligence to help diagnose infectious diseases by automating detection and counting of parasites in blood samples

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Researchers from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, the Mundo Sano Foundation, the Universidad Mayor de San Simón and the startup SpotLab have developed a new system for analyzing blood samples using cell phones, a telemedicine platform and artificial intelligence. This is demonstrated by the work that will be presented on October 27 at the International Congress of Tropical Medicine and Malaria (October 24-28, Bangkok).

Microscopy analysis is the standard method for the diagnosis of several diseases caused by blood parasites, such as malaria, which causes more than 241 million cases per year, Chagas disease or filariasis.

This multicenter study proposes to use artificial intelligence in smartphones and real-time assistance from a telemedicine platform to revolutionize microscopy diagnosis, helping the microscopist to provide an accurate and faster diagnosis.

For this purpose, 145 blood samples from two different centers were digitized and more than 5200 labels were created. Thus, an algorithm with a sensitivity of 92.88%, 80.85% and 84.24% was developed for filariasis, malaria and Chagas diseases, respectively.

The trained algorithms were deployed on both the telemedicine platform and the smartphone to provide real-time assistance.

This work, funded by the European Union, makes it possible to transform a conventional optical microscope into an intelligent digital microscope, through artificial intelligence algorithms embedded in a smartphone mobile application, which helps in the diagnosis of these parasitic blood diseases. This system can be extended to other infectious diseases, making universal diagnosis more accessible.


SpotLab is a social enterprise that seeks to democratize access to quality diagnostics by bringing artificial intelligence to diseases that are not yet in the digital world. To make this possible, we use exponential and affordable technologies – smartphones, AI and 3D printing – to reduce the time, cost, distance and CO2 footprint of medical diagnostics. Our technology is present in Europe, Latin America and Africa. For more information, visit us at