India-Israel fund grants $4.9M on medical imaging initiative in India

The India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund allocates $4.9M to finance a project to develop AI-based screening to identify major diseases early on, such as tuberculosis.

By Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff


A major Indian hospital group and Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision have announced a new collaboration on a medical imaging initiative in India.

The project, which will focus on deploying AI (artificial intelligence)-based tools across India, is receiving $4.9 million in support from the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F).

Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision is partnering with one of India’s largest hospital groups to deploy AI-based screening tools – Photo: Courtesy

The project is envisioned to serve as a primary large-scale screening method for major diseases. In the case of tuberculosis, for example, the World Health Organization estimates that 3.6 million people with TB are missed by health systems every year and do not receive adequate care.

This is primarily because patients with TB may present with mild or no symptoms, particularly early on. Many affected people arrive at clinics too late, with multi-drug resistant strains of TB. Early diagnosis is vital to battling the illness. Under the auspices of the project, India’s HealthNet Global, a member of the country’s Apollo Hospitals Group, and Zebra Medical Vision will focus on development of an AI-based chest X-ray interpretation tool to screen for TB.

Screen Shot from Zebra Medical Vision | Medical Imaging & AI

Sangita Reddy, joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “The promise of AI to provide access and improve outcomes in very intriguing. There is a critical need to provide good healthcare access in remote and rural communities, and we believe this initiative will allow us the opportunity to make significant advances in this area.”

“Apollo’s clinical and scientific depth and Zebra-Med’s expertise in AI complement each other perfectly,” Reddy said.

Zebra-Med co-founder and CEO Eyal Gura said, “We are excited to partner with the leading healthcare services provider in India and to help bring AI to India at such a scale.”

“When we met the Indian team for the first time few years ago, we found common ground and similar dream of scaling healthcare from millions to billions of patients. We are honored that the two governments have placed their trust in us and we are committed to utilize this opportunity to impact millions of lives,” Gura added.

Vikram Thaploo, CEO of HealthNet Global, said, “This is an exciting time for AI in medicine.”

“As these systems increase in accuracy, so will the viability of using AI to extend the reach of chest X-Ray interpretation, improve reporting efficiency and save lives,” Thaploo added.

The Israeli-Indian initiative was announced Wednesday at the 2019 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem.


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