Revolutionary Medical Developments To Combat Coronavirus

Australians Making A Name For Science And Technology

A recently developed at-home coronavirus test has been approved for emergency use in the United States. The best thing about it is that it was developed by a Brisbane Company.

Named as the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test, this revolution is designed to detect fragments of the virus from a nasal swab sample from a person as young as two years old.

Commissioner Stephen Hahn from the US Food and Drug Administration said the authorisation of the test is dubbed as a major milestone for the diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

He stated, “By authorising a test for over-the-counter use, the FDA allows it to be sold in places like drug stores, where a patient can buy it, swab their nose, run the test and find out their results in as little as 20 minutes.”

Meanwhile, chief executive of Ellume Health, Sean Parsons, revealed to media that this was the world’s first true at-home, non-prescriptive test for the virus to be approved, and said it was proudly developed in Brisbane.

“It’s really the first time that there’s a product available to enable widespread testing and screening,” as per Dr Parsons.

This test material is authorised for use by everyone, both with and without symptoms. Instructions on how to correctly use the swab are available on a partner app.

The results of the test will display at approximately 20 minutes.

The development team had worked hard to prove people could swab themselves reliably. Thus, building special controls so that if someone doesn’t take a proper swab, they won’t get misled by displaying a ‘negative’ result, instead, saying ‘test failed’.

Despite clinical tests seeing the test to be 96 per cent accurate, the FDA said, similar to other antigen tests, a small percentage of positive and negative results could be false.

Should patients get positive results without symptoms, it should still be treated as positive until confirmed by another test. On the other hand, individuals who produce negative results despites having symptoms should still follow up with their healthcare provider.

Dr Parsons said they were still working on commercial distribution, but have had a lot of interest from universities keen to have students return to campus, and sporting events eager to test spectators.

Given that there was not a demand for the tests in Australia yet, there is still a possibility that might change.

Meanwhile, a team of Brisbane-based healthcare professionals at the Prince Charles Hospital has helped develop a COVID app bringing crucial data to doctors in intensive care wards.

This IBM technology called COVID Critical is now being utilized by more than 500 clinicians at 370 hospitals worldwide.

John Fraser, the founder of COVID Critical, who is also a researcher at the University of Queensland, said the app eased the procedure for doctors to make the right directives about their COVID patients.

This web-based app runs on the IBM cloud and is built by seven designers and developers in Australia and New Zealand in just seven weeks.

IBM cooperated with medical researchers and data scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ), along with the support from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), taking advice from COVID Critical’s 54 member countries.

As per the managing director Katrina Troughton, after the technology was successfully tested in Australia and the US, it could soon be used across six continents.

“We anticipate that the global interest could result in up to 6,000 clinicians signing up to use it in the coming months,” she said.

For healthcare workers, this revolution could change the way the system is doing things in fighting COVID with regards to data sharing and deemed to be more lasting than COVID itself.

(Image source: ABC News)