Startup Afya Rekod launches AI data platform to curb COVID-19
Kenyan startup company Afya Rekod launches an artificially intelligent consumer data driven platform to support global efforts to combat COVID-19.
As we see the healthcare sector continue to grow digitally, this provides an unprecedented opportunity for the world to unite in its efforts when it is required to stay in isolation.
The current pandemic of COVID-19, has shown the world that centralised health management systems alone are not sufficient. What is needed is the addition of a decentralised system that allows people to update their own records, anytime and anywhere, in multiple formats.
Afya Rekod is currently in discussions with government entities and development partners to explore how its artificially intelligent (AI) data driven platform can be accelerated in order to combat the virus.
“Afya Rekod is a medical data storage platform that allows patients to store their health records, the medication they take as well as keep journals of their statuses and that of their kids and families. The platform is AI driven and uses various AI modules to help detect abnormalities, detect early outbreaks and monitor mobility and evolution of diseases via timely data analytics,” commented John Kamara, Founder and CEO of Afya Rekod.
The system was designed to help users store their own health data, access health information and connect to health service providers, with expectations to launch in July 2020.
“Afya Rekod comes at a crucial time when the world is experiencing one of the biggest pandemics of its generations and we need to monitor the movement and evolution of the virus very closely to determine the changing nature of symptoms among other things.” added Kamara.
The startup plans to fast track its original launch amidst the pandemic, to support global efforts to curb the virus by providing a global portal for people to store real-time health data.
“Africa and most of the third world countries have limited doctors and access to health care services. Lack of patient data in real time makes the problem even more damaging to both patients and health service providers across the continent. Over 65% of Africans live in rural communities that are not connected and are off grid in terms of access to health care services. This is the problem we are trying to solve,” explains Kamara.
“We are fast tracking to launch the platform four months ahead of its time to enable the world to capture real time data that will hit map areas where the Corona infections are growing and monitor the growth in real time by collecting user generated information from millions of users across multiple geographic locations to allow for sufficient data analysis in support of the global efforts to curb the disease,” he concludes.
Elsewhere in the the continent
The Institut Pasteur de Dakar and Senegal manufacturer, diaTROPiX, have been partnering with UK company Mologic The partnership marks the first time the UK has jointly manufactured a diagnostic kit in Africa to ensure tests are available to settings with limited laboratory access.
Mologic will market the diagnostic test at a cost affordable for low-income settings to ensure affected companies have access to the kits during the pandemic.
Once the validation process - which began on March 25 - is complete the diagnostic device will allow users to test for exposure to the virus at home, in the community or at a clinic, with results ready within 10 minutes.
“Until a vaccine is ready or a medicine is proven to be effective, we need to decentralise diagnostics to the community as quickly as possible. Properly assessing new tests during an epidemic is a critical and necessary step to ensuring access to the technology. Mologic’s prototypes will now be subject to international validation, with leading labs across the world,” added Dr Joe Fitchett, Medical Director, Mologic.
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NHS opens 8 clinical trial sites to assess cancer treatment
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is opening eight clinical trial sites to assess patients' responses to personalised cancer therapy.
The trials will analyse how patients diagnosed with advanced melanoma or non-small cell lung cancer respond to immunotherapy, to help predict their response to treatment. They will be hosted at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust facilities.
Immunotherapy helps the body's own immune system fight cancer, but while it has achieved good results for some cancer patients, it is not successful for everyone. Finding ways to predict which people will respond to the treatment is a major area of research.
OncoHost, an oncology startup, will provide advanced machine learning technology to develop personalised strategies aiming to improve the success rate of the cancer therapy. The trials will contribute to OncoHost’s ongoing PROPHETIC study, which uses the company’s host response profiling platform, PROphet®.
“Immunotherapy has achieved excellent results in certain situations for several cancers, allowing patients to achieve longer control of their cancer with maintained quality of life and longer survival,” said Dr David Farrugia, Consultant Medical Oncologist at NHS, and chief investigator of all eight NHS clinical trial sites.
“However, success with immunotherapy is not guaranteed in every patient, so this PROPHETIC study is seeking to identify changes in proteins circulating in the blood which may help doctors to choose the best treatment for each patient."
"I am excited that Gloucestershire Oncology Centre and its research department have this opportunity to contribute to this growing field of research and I am determined that our centre will make a leading national contribution in patient recruitment.”
Previous studies in the US and Israel have shown that PROphet® has high accuracy in predicting how patients with cancer will respond to various therapies.