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Coronavirus update: 10 innovations to help combat COVID-19

We take a look at initiatives being carried out to help win the fight against Coronavirus.

Right from rapid tests to 3D printed solutions, companies across the world are coming together to find ground-breaking ways to defeat the Coronavirus pandemic. Below, we take a look at some innovations that can help find a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mayo Clinic test delivers results in 24 hours

Mayo Clinic has developed a test that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in clinical samples. The test, "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2), Molecular Detection" has reportedly been fully validated. Data from the test will be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review and emergency use authorisation.

"An individual can now receive his or her result for SARS-CoV-2 within 24 hours," said Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., a clinical microbiologist and director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

The real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test can identify SARS-CoV-2 from a variety of clinical samples. The PCR assay has been validated to test respiratory samples collected from suspected COVID-19 patients, including nasopharyngeal swabs, sputum, throat swabs, bronchoalveolar lavages, and bronchial washings.

GE and Ford team up

GE Healthcare and Ford Motor Company are working together to scale the production of ventilators, arming clinicians with medical equipment important in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Through this collaboration, Ford will provide its technical and production expertise with the goal of manufacturing a simplified design of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator. This new system is being built to address urgent needs during the pandemic and will be equipped with the essential functions required to safely treat COVID-19 patients.

GE Healthcare President & CEO Kieran Murphy was quoted saying: “Our dedicated teams are working around the clock to ensure that our customers and partners on the front lines have the equipment and servicing needed to diagnose and treat patients with COVID-19.

“To help address this global challenge, we have increased our manufacturing capacity and output of equipment – including CTs, ultrasound devices, mobile X-ray systems, patient monitors and ventilators – important in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients.”

BeeRole’s test offers results in 15 minutes

BeeRole is offering rapid test kits that are used for the qualitative determination of COVID-19 IgM/IgG antibodies in human serum, plasma and venous whole blood samples in vitro.

The COVID-19 test kit works in four steps: Collect blood/serum/plasma sample, add blood/serum/plasma sample to sample well, place 2-3 drops of buffer in a sample well, and read results after 15 minutes. This kit uses colloidal gold immunochromatography.

The trial product was first tested and used in Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China. It was then quickly approved for manufacturing. The product is based on the up-to-the-minute nanotechnologies and rare-earth metals, thus allowing for quick results. See how it works below.

 

The Corona Copter

Iqarus, an International SOS company, has developed and launched a new service to safely manage suspected cases of coronavirus following their disembarkation from an offshore location.

The new service, CMED, supports clients with the receipt, transfer and assessment of suspected cases of COVID-19 from Aberdeen, UK, heliports, which allows duty holders to meet their obligation to assess patients and determine if they are fit for onward travel.

Following initial offshore assessment from the asset medic, the patient will then be transported via bespoke helicopters – called ‘the corona copter’ – that meet hygiene standards for each trip.

Oxford and King’s develop prototype ventilator

Engineers, anaesthetists and surgeons from the University of Oxford and King’s College London are building and testing ventilator prototypes that can be manufactured using techniques and tools available in university and small and medium enterprise (SME) workshops.

The team, led by Oxford Professors Andrew Farmery, Mark Thompson and Alfonso Castrejon-Pita and King's College London’s Dr. Federico Formenti, have been working to define novel mechanisms of operation that will meet the required specifications for safe and reliable function.

Professor Farmery, Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, said: ‘Ordinarily, to develop a medical device such as this would be a huge task, and would take years. We have designed a simple and robust ventilator, which will serve the specific task of managing the very sickest patients during this crisis. By pooling available expertise from inside and outside the University, and making the design freely available to local manufacturers, we are pleased to be able to respond to this challenge so quickly.”

Within a matter of weeks, it is hoped a prototype could be developed which would satisfy UK’s MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) requirements, and the scientists believe a mature manufacturing network at scale could be achievable within 2-3 months.

Bactiguard launches HYDROCYN aqua

Bactiguard launched HYDROCYN aqua in Sweden on March 12. The effect of HYDROCYN aqua on coronaviruses has been tested and it is documented that it kills 99.9 per cent of previous variants within 15–30 seconds. Previous experience also shows that the proven effect can be transferred to new variants of coronavirus. Tests on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) are now underway to verify this.

HYDROCYN aqua is a pH-neutral and water-based product used for wound care and, unlike alcohol and chlorhexidine, is not irritating, toxic or harmful to the body. The active substance is hypochlorous acid (HOCl). The product is CE marked (EU approved) and registered by the US FDA.

Hands-free 3D-printed door openers to help curb Coronavirus

Door handles are among the most germ-infested objects in houses, hospitals, factories, and elderly homes. In order to combat the spread of Coronavirus, Belgium-based company Materialise is manufacturing 3D print hands-free door openers. The company’s easy-to-use openers don’t require drilling holes or replacing door’s handle. All you have to do is fasten two 3D-printed pieces together with screws over the existing handle. Check out how it works.

 

Takeda develops plasma-derived therapy for COVID-19

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited recently shared that it is initiating the development of an anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG) to treat high-risk individuals with COVID-19, while also studying whether its currently marketed and pipeline products may be effective treatments for infected patients.

Hyperimmune globulins are plasma derived-therapies that have previously been shown to be effective in the treatment of severe acute viral respiratory infections and may be a treatment option for COVID-19. Takeda has the expertise to research, develop, and manufacture a potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal H-IG, which it is referring to as TAK-888.

The company is also exploring whether select marketed therapies and molecules in its drug library could be viable candidates for the effective treatment of COVID-19.

Pfizer and BioNTech collaborate

Biopharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to co-develop and distribute (with the exception of China) a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection.

Test kits from Primerdesign and Randox

A detection kit launched at the end of January by Primerdesign, a business unit of diagnostics group Novacyt, allows for samples to be screened quickly. Also, At Medlab Middle East 2020, Randox Laboratories announced that the company is in the final stages of developing a test developed on its patented Biochip Technology.

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