Viraj Mehta, USA, 16
Basic Human Needs: Education, Health
When he was 12 years old, Viraj’s grandfather passed away from lymphoma that was originally misdiagnosed and then re-diagnosed too late. Viraj discovered that almost 40% of certain types of cancer were not diagnosed until later stages, leading to a much lower survival rate. In 2016, Viraj founded the organization OncoVision to spread awareness in underdeveloped regions about proper cancer screening and diagnosis. One year later, at the age of 14, Viraj used his interest in machine learning to design a companion OncoVision app to predict a patient’s risk of certain cancers based on their symptoms, demographics and lifestyle. In two years, the OncoVision app has demonstrated a 97.3% accuracy diagnosis rate, and has educated over 1,000 people about early cancer screening. Viraj has established OncoVision chapters in India, Poland and Malaysia, where he has hosted educational events and recruited a team to fulfill OncoVision’s mission. In May 2018, Viraj was invited to present OncoVision at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh. In the near future, he plans to implement geolocation technology into the OncoVision app to connect patients with local doctors. He also hopes to partner with global health organizations to reach greater populations with OncoVision’s mission. By educating others about cancer, Viraj aims to decrease cancer-related deaths and improve quality of life worldwide.