Rapid at-home Covid tests to offer results in minutes
Telehealth company Ro has partnered with healthcare AI firm Gauss to offer Covid-19 tests that can be administered at home, with the results processed on the user's smartphone.
The antigen test identifies protein fragments (also known as antigens) from the virus, giving results within 15 minutes. To complete it, patients follow step-by-step video instructions in the Gauss app, which demonstrate how to collect a nasal swab sample and perform the test. Once ready, the app notifies the user to scan the test with their smartphone so it can process the image using computer vision and artificial intelligence.
The app then tells the user if the test result is negative or positive within seconds. Healthcare providers are available via Ro's telehealth platform to answer any questions the users may have about their test results.
The partnership will enable the test to be delivered through Ro's primary care telehealth platform once it's received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorisation. Once approved, patients will be able to order the tests through Ro’s digital healthcare clinics, which will ship the test directly to people's homes.
Zachariah Reitano, Co-Founder and CEO of Ro, said: “COVID-19 testing remains critical to thwarting the ongoing pandemic, but the traditional testing options put unnecessary burdens on patients and providers: the tests are difficult to access, take too long to deliver results, leave patients without support as to next steps related to their results, and may expose healthcare providers to infected patients.
"We’ve partnered with Gauss, a leader in healthcare AI, to deliver an end-to-end COVID-19 testing experience that is reliable, can be completed at home within minutes, and includes access to healthcare providers who can help patients understand what comes next."
The test is powered by an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant smartphone app developed by Gauss’s team of clinical and technology leaders. According to the results of a clinical trial submitted by Gauss to the FDA, it has a 94.4% positive per cent agreement, and 99.2% negative per cent agreement compared to other tests.
"Bringing together Gauss’s innovative testing technology and our vertically integrated primary care platform, we will enable people nationwide to more quickly and easily find out their COVID-19 status and keep themselves and their communities safe" Reitano said.
COVID-19 app for NHS staff launches as restrictions lift
A new app has launched today to support UK hospital staff who have been redeployed to care for COVID-19 patients.
The Acute COVID app has been co-developed by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and its charity CW+, along with health tech company Imagineear Health.
It provides information to healthcare staff via a step-by-step guide, aimed at both doctors and nurses. This includes the different stages of COVID-19 so they have guidance around triage at A&E, hospital admission, in-hospital treatments, and advanced care management.
The app also provides training on non-invasive ventilation. In the first wave of the pandemic the numbers of patients needing this type of ventilation led to staff who would not normally administer this to patients having to do so.
Additionally the app signposts staff to where they can access mental and physical wellbeing support, acknowledging the levels of staff burnout, particularly among frontline staff, the pandemic has created.
The launch of the app comes on the same day England lifts its COVID-19 restrictions, labelled "freedom day" by some. However infection rates have soared in recent weeks and the move has been fiercely opposed by scientists and doctors, both in the UK and abroad.
In a letter published in medical journal The Lancet backed by 1,200 international scientists, experts called the unlocking "a threat to the world", as allowing infection rates to rise enables the virus to mutate and potentially become resistant to the vaccination.
At the weekend the newly appointed health secretary Sajid Javid announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, and both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the chancellor Rishi Sunak are self-isolating.
Meanwhile in the first week of July more than 500,000 alerts were issued by the NHS Covid-19 app telling people they had been exposed to the virus. As a result businesses are considering cutting their opening hours while staff are self-isolating at home. The government has issued guidance saying that fully vaccinated frontline NHS staff in England will be allowed to carry on working even if they've come into contact with someone with COVID-19.