Neura Inc., which focuses on AI-powered behavioral intelligence that provides real-world insights for health organizations, governments and consumer brands, has revealed the adoption of its Viruscore COVID-19 predictive testing solution.

Following the U.S. FDA’s approval of pooled testing, stakeholders have been using this method to help control COVID-19’s spread. Now, Neura, of Palo Alto, Calif., is looking to provide a hand in this regard, with an eye toward increasing accuracy.

Neura works to transform anonymized sensory data from millions of mobile devices using AI and machine learning into actionable insights. Stakeholders use these insights to predict and potentially contain the spread of COVID-19.

As part of Neura's newest offering, the insights are fused with pandemic data to create a risk score. The score is employed by health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and labs to grade the probability of a positive or negative result on a four-level scale ranging from highest probability to lowest probability.

"Neura's solution is a significant leap forward for the deployment of behavioral-intelligence tech in the fight against COVID-19," said CEO Amit Hammer. "Being able to identify high and low-risk groups, future outbreaks, and behavioral super-spreaders is crucial to government efforts to fight the virus."

Work with Hy Laboratories

The company has worked with Hy Laboratories, the main provider of COVID-19 tests solutions in Israel, using it to grade testing samples to enable more efficient test pooling.

Ori Shaashua, Neura’s co-founder and chief product officer

Ori Shaashua, the company’s co-founder and chief product officer, highlighted the company’s work with Hy Laboratories and one of the world’s largest HMOs. Indeed, in his company’s study with Hy Laboratories, the Viruscore predicted the correct outcome of tests with 98% accuracy out of a population of 1,000 tests.

Effectively, Neura was able to create a population sample with 2% positive infection rate. “Labs and medical facilities will be able to increase testing capacity 6x, and it will enable labs, HMOs, and others in the medical field to deploy far more effective test pooling, meaning faster results and lives saved,” Shaashua explained.

For its part, Hy Laboratories is impressed. "As of today, we do not look only at the analytical and clinical utility of testing, but at the entire workflow and its implications on a much broader scale. Neura brings an out of the box approach and new possibilities for sample managing, achieving a powerful enhancement of the test pooling process," said Tsofnat Cohen Lubetzky, head of business development at Hy Laboratories. "By leveraging Neura's Viruscore solution, we are able to pool tests far more effectively, delivering much faster results, while helping to conserve supplies of vital testing kits, it has been an absolute and unequivocal breakthrough."

At the same time, the company is looking to help governments and municipalities make better decisions on policy directives and use of resources based on real-time, accurate data. Specifically, Neura aggregates data about changing population behavior, including grocery store and mall capacities and the population density of cities. This permits an understanding of the changing regulations’ impact on populations buying patterns, mobility changes and re-integration response. “[B]usinesses will be able to retrieve insights, such as which areas are coming back to life, along with when and how to implement protective health measures,” Shaashua, said.

The company also has big aspirations in terms of geography. “We have a global focus across North America, Europe, and LATAM, and APAC because we have data that can be utilized for effective solutions in every region,” he told BioWorld.

Currently, the company is focused on Viruscore and its population behavior platform. Shaashua noted that it is working on a third platform. It will disclose the exact release date at an as-yet determined time.

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