St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Co. said it has received reports of people fraudulently representing themselves as being affiliated with the company. They have tried to sell counterfeits, falsely claimed to manufacture 3M products and have grossly inflated prices. The company said it is working with law enforcement and e-marketplace operators to stop these people. It also has created a hotline to call for information on how to help identify authentic 3M products and ensure they are from authorized distributors. That number, in the U.S. and Canada, is (800) 426-8688.

Soft tissue repair company Aroa Biosurgery Ltd., of Aukland, New Zeeland, is stepping up to support clinicians and their patients who are battling to treat wounds amid disruption to many existing U.S. facilities for wound care due to COVID-19. the company has opened an additional pathway for its clinicians and patients to maintain access to Endoform, an extracellular matrix technology that is proven to help wounds heal faster. The new channel provided through the Medical Monks online service integrates direct online sales, insurance coverage support and clinical support to customers.

Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have jointly developed a new rapid, sensitive diagnostic test for COVID-19. The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center will administer the new test under its existing FDA certification permits. This will increase and improve test processing in Ohio according to existing state clinical guidelines. Results of the test can be available in as few as five hours. Initially, the system can process approximately 200 tests per day, but when the infrastructure is fully built over the coming weeks, the goal is to process more than 1,000 test swabs per day.

Two British companies at the leading edge of medical imaging technology are working together on a plan to fast-track the diagnosis of COVID-19 in NHS hospitals using artificial intelligence analysis of chest X-rays. Behold.ai Technologies Ltd. has developed the artificial intelligence-based red dot algorithm which can identify within 30 seconds abnormalities in chest X-rays. Mansfield-based Wellbeing Software operates Cris, the U.K.’s most widely used Radiology Information System (RIS), which is installed in more than 700 locations. A national release combining these two technologies would enable a large number of hospitals to quickly process the significant volume of X-rays, currently being used as the key diagnostic test for triage of COVID-19 patients, thereby speeding up diagnosis and easing pressure on the NHS at this critical time. This solution will also find significant utility in dealing with the backlog of cases that continue to mount, such as suspected cancer patients.

Carterra Inc., of Salt Lake City, said the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) will use Carterra’s LSA platform to screen hundreds of antibodies in just a few days allowing its Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (CoVIC) to move therapeutic candidates to the clinic as early as this summer. LJI has been awarded a $1.73 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a CoVIC as part of the foundation’s global efforts to stem the tide of the current coronavirus outbreak. Headquartered at LJI, CoVIC will serve as a clearinghouse to understand which antibodies are most effective against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and to accelerate the research pipeline to provide immunotherapeutics.

San Diego-based Cubic Corp. entered a partnership agreement with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing to use the Learning and Technology Resource Center’s (LTRC) Human Patient Simulator Istan to test an emergency ventilator device the company is developing in anticipation of ventilator shortages arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Cubic’s Huntsville operations is the main development and manufacturing facility for its Cubic Mission Solutions business division’s GATR satellite communication and networking systems. In collaboration with the staff at the College of Nursing’s LTRC, the GATR team used the Istan high-fidelity simulator (simulated patient) and reference ventilators to rapidly develop and test the emergency ventilator. The project, called VentiGATR, has now completed initial tests at the UAH College of Nursing and is in collaboration with Huntsville Veterinary Specialists and Emergency for live animal testing.

Drägerwerk AG (Dräger), of Lübeck, Germany reported the award of a government contract to supply N95 respiratory protection masks in support of efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. The HHS issued an award to Dräger for the supply of National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved N95 respiratory protection masks. As part of the contract Dräger plans to increase U.S. domestic production of the masks and expand its manufacturing footprint over the course of the contract. Deliveries will take place over the next 18 months with a focus on accelerated supply wherever possible.

Paris-based Echosens SA, reported its collaboration with Brentwood, Tenn.-based Metaphy Health to support turnkey, comprehensive chronic disease management services to gastroenterology practices for their patients with fatty liver disease. Fibroscan, a noninvasive, rapid and painless examination to accurately detect, assess and monitor liver fat and stiffness, is a cornerstone of the Echosens patient-centered care model.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with Chicago-based GE Healthcare, reported it will begin producing in Michigan a third-party ventilator with the goal to produce 50,000 of the vitally needed units within 100 days and up to 30,000 a month thereafter as needed. Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production, and GE Healthcare will provide its clinical expertise and will license the current ventilator design from Melbourne, Fla.-based Airon Corp., a small, privately held company specializing in high-tech pneumatic life support products. GE Healthcare brought the Airon Corp. design to Ford’s attention as part of the companies’ efforts to scale production of ventilators quickly to help clinicians treat COVID-19 patients. Ford will initially send a team to work with Airon to boost production in Florida, and by the week of April 20, will start production at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., quickly ramping up to reach full production to help meet surging demand.

Victoria, British Columbia-based Immunoprecise Antibodies Ltd. (IPA) reported that its collaborator, New York-based Evqlv, has submitted their first panel of candidate therapeutic antibody sequences, comprised of DNA sequences encoding for potentially therapeutic antibodies against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. These DNA sequences were generated using computational antibody design. The submitted antibody sequences were pre-screened by Evqlv's artificial intelligence-driven algorithms, which work to maximize the resulting antibodies' therapeutic potential while minimizing safety and manufacturing risks. IPA will now review the antibody candidates from Evqlv's artificial intelligence. IPA will select approximately 1,200 ideal candidates that were characterized and screened by Evqlv's artificial intelligence and validate the antibody candidates in vitro for the purpose of producing and testing these antibodies.

Detroit-based General Motors Co. has teamed up with Esys Automation, a JR Automation company based in Holland, Mich., to produce face masks for frontline workers in the COVID-19 outbreak. The newly built mask assembly line, which produced its first mask March 27, is capable of producing 50,000 masks a day.

Houston Methodist Hospital reported that it is the first U.S. academic medical center to receive FDA approval to transfuse donated plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient into a critically ill patient. The treatment was fast-tracked over the weekend as the number of surpassed 2000, the hospital said.

Immunoprecise Antibodies Ltd. (IPA), of Victoria, B.C., reported that it has submitted the first panel of optimized antibody sequences against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The submitted antibodies were prescreened using New York-based Evqlv Inc.’s artificial intelligence-powered algorithms. Following review of the candidate, IPA will select 1,200 ideal candidates and validate them in vitro for purposes of producing and testing the antibodies. IPA said it has sufficient resources to conduct the testing.

Luminati Networks Ltd., of Netanya, Israel, is joining the COVID-19 task force. Sprint Covid-19 is led by the Innovation Department at Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, Israel, together with Rafael Advanced Technology and Weizmann Institute of Science. As part of its planned activities, the team has launched an initiative that has the goal of increasing testing through smart devices. 

Austin, Texas-based Luminex Corp. has received $642,450 in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to support the development, testing and submission later this week of an emergency use authorization for its Aries SARS-CoV-2 assay. The assay will run on Luminex’s FDA-cleared Aries System, an automated molecular diagnostics platform for moderate complexity labs.

Navidea Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Dublin, Ohio, has signed a letter of intent with Worldcare Clinical LLC, of Boston, to partner on the development and commercialization of Navidea’s rheumatoid arthritis diagnostic clinical imaging workflow. It is expected that Worldcare will be the vendor managing the imaging aspects of the upcoming phase IIb (NAV3-32) and phase III (NAV3-33) clinical trials and will work in tandem with Navidea to optimize workflow ahead of commercial launch.

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Neumodx Molecular Inc. has received U.S. FDA emergency use authorization for its Neumodx SARS-CoV-2 assay. The rapid, automated in vitro real-time RT-PCR test provides results in about 80 minutes.

Northwell Health, a New York-based nonprofit integrated health care network, reported that it has converted bi-level positive airway (BiPAP) machines into ventilators for critically ill COVID-19 patients, using a 3D-printed adaptor to aid in the conversion.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Nti Nanotechnology Corp. said it is working with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and Export Canada to launch its antiviral Yzer Health product line in global markets, to help fight the transmission of COVID-19. The line, which had been scheduled for launch in the third and fourth quarter of 2020, includes hand sanitizer, surface wipes, masks and gowns. Nti said the application of nanotechnology will allow personal protection equipment to be reused, reducing supply chain pressure.

London-based Ozo Life Ltd. has launched a five-minute rapid test kit for COVID-19 with a latex-enhanced lateral flow immunoassay. The OZO COVID-19 Rapid DIY at-home test kit has received CE certification and is expected to have FDA authorization in the coming weeks. The test is available in three configurations: Ozo Silver – Ozo SARS-CoV-2 IgM method; Ozo Gold – Ozo SARS-Cov-2 IgG method; and Ozo Diamond – Ozo SARS-CoV-2 IgM+IgG method.

Procept Biorobotics Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif., reported that the European Association of Urology has amended its 2020 guidelines to include a formal recommendation for its Aquablation therapy as a treatment option for male lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Sectra North America Inc., of Shelton, Conn., said it will deploy the radiology and breast imaging modules of its enterprise imaging solution at Metrohealth, a nonprofit health system serving northeastern Ohio.

Cambridge, U.K.-based Sense Biodetection Ltd. is partnering with Phillips-Medisize Corp., a Molex company based in Hudson, Wis., to scale up production of Veros SARS-CoV-2 instrument-free, point-of-care, disposal test to meet growing demand for rapid diagnostics. The collaboration is part of a program to accelerate the launch of the test, which provides results in 10 minutes.

Toronto-based Stagezero Life Sciences Ltd. reported that it is preparing to offer serology point-of-care and laboratory-based tests for COVID-19 in the U.S. and Canada, pending a greenlight from regulators. The company operates a CLIA-certified laboratory in Richmond, Va.

Viral Protection Labs Inc., of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is launching its West Coast operations in April, with the capacity to produce six million 3-ply and 4-ply surgical face masks per month. The company said the masks will meet U.S. FDA specifications for blocking up to 95% bacterial filtration efficiency, particle filtration efficiency, viral filtration efficiency, differential pressure and blood penetration.

Virgin Orbit, of Long Beach Calif., has developed a mass-producible bridge ventilator to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has consulted with the Bridge Ventilator Consortium, led by the University of California Irvine and the University of Texas at Austin, a group formed to spawn and nurture efforts to build producible, simple ventilators to aid in the current COVID-19 crisis. Pending clearance by the U.S. FDA, Virgin Orbit aims to commence production at its Long Beach manufacturing facility in early April, with an eye toward delivering units to first responders and health care professionals as soon as possible.

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