The world is facing enormous challenges from the spread of infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 17 million people a year are killed by infectious diseases. At least 30 new diseases have emerged in the last 20 years and now together threaten the health of hundreds of millions of people. For many of these diseases, there is no treatment, cure or vaccine. Therefore, the only resort for the containment of the infections is geo-tracking and reporting the cases to health authorities. Considering the process of fast urbanization, the situation may degenerate. The fast relocation of millions of people in urban areas can create the conditions to facilitate the spread of infectious diseases, creating local epidemics which may result in worldwide pandemics.
BluSense Diagnostics aims to bring expert diagnosis and management of communicable diseases to the affected communities through the application of advanced biomarker detection point-of-care (POC) platform, combined with AI-powered predictive and prescriptive analytics. The goal of the project is to provide better, more accurate, and easier-to-interpret diagnostics solutions for the correct management of infected patients, with the double goal of reducing the health impact of the diseases, and optimizing the costs and efficiency of the patients' management and disease containment programs. The platform is based on a reader (BluBox), and single-use blood test cartridges (ViroTrack), specifically designed for targeting different viruses. The test is performed using a single drop of blood collected from the fingertip, without the need of phlebotomy. The tests can be performed in less than 10 min and require no specialized equipment (other than BluBox reader) nor trained operators. ViroTrack cartridges have been developed to be the first quantitative rapid tests able to quickly and accurately identify different viruses, such as Dengue, Malaria, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Yellow Fever, Ebola and related hemorrhagic fevers. Upon the concurrence of new diseases, the solution can be quickly deployed on the territory.
The novelty is the intrinsic simplicity and scalability of the technology, which does not require any special sensor or sophisticated optics but just off-the-shelf components. The compatibility of the same readout method with both antigen and antibodies assays on the same microfluidic support is unique, and no similar microfluidic device offers the same capabilities. BluSense already developed several viral biomarkers identification cartridges and is now adding an advanced machine learning algorithm into the BluBox, which can compute symptoms entries (objective and subjective) together with the quantified biomarkers, to make predictive analytics of the risk of severity, therefore providing a clinical management support tool to the doctors. The first results demonstrated clinical decision support through modelling of patient data (symptoms, warning signs, lab results) collected over four different studies.
BluSense diagnostics solution is specifically designed to offer tremendous opportunities for the rapid and accurate assessment of communicable diseases in both heavily populated and resource-constrained expertise-lacking areas. As a mainstay of communicable disease surveillance, the technology promises correct reporting and confirmation of cases in health facilities, thus enabling real-time monitoring and geo-tracking of potential new pandemics. As a result, the application of BluSense, aligned with the challenge of Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity, will provide better detection and surveillance of infectious diseases in urban environments and endemic regions. Furthermore, the device is compatible with large sets of laboratory assays, having the potential to become the next-generation diagnostics for large-scale use in sub-tropical markets and for emergency response.