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Senegalese scientists develop a phone app to help fight antimicrobial resistance

Dr Ndiaye and his team have been working on a simple app which can be downloaded onto any smartphone to help medics interpret lab results effectively and prescribe the right drugs.

Currently, health workers send samples from a patient with an infection and send it to a lab. Technicians then send back an antibiogram, a profile of the microbe’s susceptibility to a battery of antimicrobial drugs.

Trained doctors and pharmacists can interpret these antibiograms and prescribe the most effective drug. 

Preserving our antibiotic arsenal

But in areas where medical training is low or health services are stretched, results can be misinterpreted easily – causing the wrong drugs to be used. The app aims to cut out the potential for human error. 

“It is not a machine. You use your phone. You just download the application and take a photo of the results in a darkroom. The app uses artificial intelligence and will tell you what antibiotic is sensible, what is susceptible to the antibiotic molecule,” said Dr Ndiaye. 

“We need to find a way of preserving our arsenal of antibiotics against future infections,” he added.

The app is designed to work off-grid even if there is no internet or phone reception, meaning it could be highly effective in rural areas across much of Africa where phone signal can be patchy at best or non-existent.

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