The web platform that makes parasite microscopy easier – ParasiteWeb®goes live

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) have developed ParasiteWeb®, a web platform for training and quality assessment of parasite microscopy. With digital clinical samples, the platform makes it possible to train diagnostic skills online and run virtual external quality assessments (EQAs). In this way, ParasiteWeb® can reach a wider group of users and offer them access to rare parasites and direct expert feedback. With Nobit oHG as a partner, ParasiteWeb® is now live:

© Fraunhofer IIS
Giemsa-stained thick and thin blood films of a patient with fever, anemia and thrombocyto-penia after traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa for six weeks.

Three-stage scans simplify digital microscopy

The centerpiece of ParasiteWeb® is the BNITM’s collection of parasitological blood and stool samples, which were converted into whole slide images (WSIs) using a special digitization process. Taking a three-stage approach, the researchers produced scans consisting of an overview image presented alongside areas that have been enlarged at medium and high resolution and with the option of infinitely adjustable zoom. The finished WSIs were then uploaded to the ParasiteWeb® platform, and the parasites – or their component parts – in the images were labeled by BNITM experts and classified according to species. 

Thanks to these virtual slides, participants in EQAs can now benefit from a significantly broader spectrum of parasitological blood and stool samples and compare their results directly with the expert annotations already stored on the platform. ParasiteWeb® means that EQA providers can really streamline their logistics processes and rein in costs. 

Fraunhofer IIS and the BNITM have now found the perfect partner to market their high-performance web platform: Nobit oHG. “I’m delighted to have an experienced partner such as Nobit on board and thrilled to say that we’ve now launched ParasiteWeb®,” says Prof. Egbert Tannich, former Chair of the BNITM Board of Directors and expert in medical parasitology. He goes on to say that “Dr. Benz and her team from Fraunhofer IIS handled the elaborate process of producing high-resolution digital images of the complex specimens. They also designed and implemented a basic version of the web platform. Working with Nobit means we have an industry partner capable of ensuring the platform’s further development and its secure and scalable operation.”

Christian Hammer, Managing Director at Nobit, adds: “Our team was fascinated by the project from the word go. Hunting down parasites in massive scans is a bit like a game, and besides, there are a great many advantages to training and verifying diagnostics in a virtual environment.” Since Nobit’s portfolio includes smart information solutions aimed at SMEs and corporate groups, the company has plenty of experience in converting real-world data into digital data and putting it to good use. 

ParasiteWeb® is now live. The web platform offers various collections of parasites in clinical blood and stool samples. Each user is issued with a personal access code, and once logged in they can carry out tests or EQAs online. Using a virtual microscope, they can observe and label parasites and determine what species they belong to. As soon as the test or EQA is complete, users can compare their results with the diagnosis provided by the experts. 

You can find more information here