Israel-Singapore healthcare collaboration
Ben-Gurion University’s technology company, BGN Technologies has collaborated with Singapore-based startup Biosensorix to develop a $5 kit that can detect dengue fever and stroke in a few minutes.
Dengue Fever or Breakbone Fever is one of the leading causes of death in the Asian and South American countries. This mosquito-borne disease comes with flu-like symptoms that worsen over the next couple of days. Currently, the diagnosis is done by carrying out blood tests in the laboratories, which take considerable time and effort.
The technology company of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, BGN Technologies has partnered with the Singapore-based medical diagnostics startup Biosensorix to develop a cheap kit that can analyse dengue fever and stroke symptoms. At present, the venture is in the stage of pre-series A funding and is awaiting formal approval from the FDA.
The $5 kit comprises of two parts. One is the blood testing strip on which the blood sample is taken. The other is the smartphone-sized device in which the strip is inserted.
The kit analyses chemical composition of the blood to reveal the presence of dengue fever in the affected. A similar kit is also being developed to test stroke symptoms.
The technology is an electrochemical biosensor that detects the presence of biomarkers and pathogens in the bloodstream. Luka Fajs, CEO of Biosensorix said, “We are trying to decentralize medicine by allowing patients to test themselves at home and receive immediate test results at a very low cost to healthcare providers, eliminating the need for lab testing.”
Robert Marks, Professor at the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering at BGU and co-founder of Biosensorix said, “Most people with dengue fever can be released to home care, yet are kept at the hospital until results come in. With the new diagnostic kit, the physician can release the patient within half an hour, saving time and money.”
A kit is also being developed to detect symptoms of stroke and secondary stroke. A stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain is hindered by the presence of blood clots.
Currently, the testing is done with the help of MRI and other procedures that require significant time and money.
“In stroke condition, every minute counts. A quick quantitative test means rapid diagnosis that is necessary for accurate, timely treatment. This can save brain functions and even lives,” said Ora Horovitz, senior VP Business Development at BGN Technologies.
This research tie-up happened as a result of the deal between Singapore’s National Research Foundation and Hebrew University back in April 2016. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong signed the agreement.
“We asked a number of countries, but only Israel responded, and it did so very promptly,” said Mr Lee. “We called them ‘Mexicans’ for operational security and because we hoped that their swarthy looks might make the cover plausible. We will always be grateful that Israel helped us and stood by us at a time of great need.”
Image credit: www.biosensorix.com