Plans to zap malaria in Sao Tome

They are more famous for their drone-in-a-box solution for mainly security and policing operations, but Israeli autonomous drone manufacturer Airobotics has decided to combine efforts with Zzapp Malaria to fight the spread of the tropical disease in the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe in central Africa.

The project will be a year long.

A subsidiary of Sight Diagnostics, Zzapp Malaria has developed an AI platform which designs, operates, and monitors large-scale operations to eradicate malaria by mass treatment of mosquito breeding grounds.

The company’s solution combines an AI platform and a GPS-based cellular app suited to field conditions in Africa (minimal power usage and independence of cellular signal).

Their partnership with Airobotics will see the latter using autonomous drones to provide fast, detailed mapping of standing water bodies in the capital, São Tomé.

The Airobotics autonomous drone solution enables video, mapping and survey real time and post mission data analysis as well as emergency delivery and other capabilities, and the drones are famous in the USA, Israel, Singapore, and the UAE.

The mapping in Sao Tome will enable Zzapp Malaria’s AI platform to analyse the water bodies and to identify and predict mosquito breeding grounds. Zzapp will then create and monitor an efficient strategy to disrupt mosquito breeding in these areas, eliminating the carrier and eradicating malaria in the area.

“We are happy that the technology we developed enables us entry into a new, life-saving field,” said Meir Kliner, Airobotics CEO and Co-Founder.

“Our initial deal with Zzapp Malaria marks the first step of our entry into the fight against malaria. We believe that Airobotics can bring much added value to Zzapp’s unique product and can enable Zzapp to expand and grow into more countries.”

Zzapp Malaria also plans to automate the breeding ground disruption process itself, using Airobotics drones to spray mosquito breeding grounds.

Arnon Houri-Yafin, ZZapp Malaria CEO said; “We are very happy to work with Airobotics’ advanced drones. Airobotics’ emphasis on automation and autonomy is a good fit with our approach which relies on massive data collection and analysis and utilizing AI and cellular phones to create efficient processes in place of today’s mostly manual processes.

“Using drones, we will be able to cover large areas and accurately locate water sources, especially in swampy areas, which are prime mosquito breeding grounds but difficult to reach on foot.”

Malaria is a preventable disease spread by the anopheles mosquito. According to the World Health Organisation, there are over 220 million cases of malaria every year, causing over 400,000 deaths – 67 percent of which are children under five. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of Malaria, with the WHO African region accounting for almost 95 percent of world malaria cases and deaths.


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