Respiratory and heart rates are thought to offer an early warning for the subsequent deterioration of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Outside the ICU, these are typically assessed in a manual exam by hospital staff. But infection control measures and a high patient burden can make it difficult to assess these indicators often enough and to analyze that data in a useful way. Royal Philips has launched a five-day, wearable biosensor patch that monitors respiratory and heart rates once every minute, as well as assesses contextual information such as posture, activity level and ambulation. The wearable, disposable patch, dubbed the Philips Biosensor BX100, has received U.S. FDA clearance and a CE mark and is intended for use in lower acuity hospital care. That data can then be fed into an analytics software system, known as Intellivue Guardian, that integrates it with other patient monitors and electronic medical record information to implement an early warning scoring system designed to identify patients about to deteriorate. It offers customizable alerts to health care providers and a modular software approach that can enable variable levels of systematic integration.

Kahala Biosciences, Rymedi bring blockchain to COVID-19 antibody testing

Widespread testing is going to be key to safely reopening businesses and global economies in the current pandemic. To that end, Kahala Biosciences LLC, an Irvine, Calif.-based testing and tracking startup, and its technology partner, Rymedi Inc., of Greenville, S.C., have launched the Adiona COVID-19 antibody testing platform, combining antibody testing with a blockchain-enabled smartphone app to increase predictability and traceability of potential outbreaks.

FDA encouraging COVID-19 test developers to file 510(k)s 

The number of tests of various types for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is still growing, but the emergency use authorization program is not the only option for developers. Timothy Stenzel, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiology, said on the agency’s May 27 town hall that the agency would like to see test developers file for a 510(k) for their tests when the data are sufficient to support an application, adding that any such clearances will not affect the FDA’s interest in keeping plenty of similar tests on the market via the EUA mechanism.

Germline ApoE variants affect melanoma trajectory

Variants in the APOE gene are the strongest genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Now, researchers at Rockefeller University have demonstrated that APOE variants also affected the risk of progression and metastasis as well as the response to immunotherapy, in melanoma.  The team published its findings in the May 25, 2020, online issue of Nature Medicine. The APOE4 allele, which increases the risk of AD, improved the outlook for melanoma patients – possibly by the same biological effect. “ApoE2, which reduces AD risk, is less effective at enhancing immunity,” senior author Sohail Tavazoie told BioWorld, because it binds less strongly to ApoE receptors. The greater inflammation caused by ApoE4 is good for a melanoma patient, where “you want a robust inflammatory response” to set off antitumor immunity, he added. “But for your brain, you don’t want inflammation.”

In Pakistan, digital platform offers a baseline to fight COVID-19

KARACHI, Pakistan – Beyond stepping up manufacturing of the medical devices it needs to fight COVID-19, Pakistan is using technology platforms to reach out to a large diaspora for help. The country is taking steps to leverage limited resources through a more comprehensive system of telehealth applications that allow for faster self-diagnosis and make it possible to tap into the expertise of Pakistani doctors. The country has already started manufacturing ventilators and oxygenators that the more serious patients need in the course of treatment as well as manufacturing N95 masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). But, beyond the practicalities of making the equipment needed to treat patients at home, health officials and the government are putting more emphasis on technology to address the pandemic. Pakistan’s government is prioritizing the development of digital health care platforms to not only educate people and fight COVID-19 but also to bring the significant expertise of Pakistani doctors living and working abroad to bear on the country.

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Aclaimant, Alr Technologies, Altapure, Alucent Biomedical, Axim Biotechnologies, Biodesix, Biodot, Centricity Vision, Centrus Health Clinics, Clinical Genomics, Coventus Orthopaedics, Flagship Biosciences, Flower Orthopedics, Fujifilm, Immunoprecise, Inovalon, Magnolia Medical Technologies, Masimo, Merit Medical, Multi Radiance Medical, Neovasc, Neuromod Devices, One Medical, Procept Biorobotics, Quest Diagnostics, Roche, Royal Philips, RTI Surgical Holdings, Smiledirectclub, Starboard, Stryker, Titan Medical