A ‘next generation’ COVID-19 test has been created in Israel, which can tell patients of coronavirus the chances of their symptoms deteriorating and leading to serious illness. On Tuesday, the CE mark was given to the MeMed COVID-19 Severity test, which means that it has been approved for use in the United Kingdom and Europe. It will receive the greenlight for Israel within two to three months and discussions regarding approval have already been initiated with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A tenth of millimeters of blood is required from patients, which is loaded into a cartridge by a nurse.
This cartridge looks like a TV remote control and is placed into a portable machine. The results are shown on the screen within 15 minutes. A number between 0 and 100 is provided by the machine. The higher the number, the greater the chances of deterioration. The CEO and co-founder of MeMed, Eran Eden said that the test does not indicate the severity of the COVID-19 infection at the moment, but predicts how the illness will unfold in the next two weeks. This technology is based on research that his company has been doing for a decade.
It has been peer review and has also been published in various medical journals, including the Lancet. The research tracks which specific protein levels in the blood highlight the prospects of some health conditions. A mass of data was accumulated in dozens of medical centers in the world and the European Commission and the US Department of Defense-funded this project. Blood samples were collected by doctors and nurses from patients and used it for documenting their health patterns. The technology that’s used in the MeMed COVID-19 Severity test was built by Eden’s team and by an earlier test for ‘snuffles’.
Eden said that they had already come up with a system for determining why children suffer from snuffles and for telling doctors whether it is a viral infection that just needs chicken soup or a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics. Some Israeli medical centers are already using it and it will also be deployed in Europe. He added that now the same technology is being leveraged for going after the severity of COVID-19 in patients and a number of other applications will also be introduced, including other diseases and even the next pandemic.
Eden said that a strong COVID-19 response was required to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and this technology could have played a vital role in it. It could have helped in ensuring the efficient use of hospital resources by providing a better idea of who needed more care. He also added that the coronavirus has shown that intervening early can be helpful in ensuring a less severe outcome. Hence, treatment can be better tailored for averting serious illness. It will still be a couple of months before this test can be used in Israel, but is expected to help hospitals in providing care and treatment to patients.