The Promise of Monitoring Chronic Inflammation in Light of COVID-19
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
The realm of immune system decoding to elicit meaningful insights about individual health and well being has received increased attention from researchers over the past years. Recent studies have even shown that information communicated by our immune system can be indicative when assessing the susceptibility to severe infection of the individual by SARS-CoV-2. It is a strong case in point but also just the tip of the iceberg. Various other studies have produced data that, if enriched and refined, could go a long way in relieving much of the burden associated with a line of non-communicable illnesses that take a heavy toll on global healthcare expenditure and human lives. Proactive Diagnostics is developing a point-of-need and home-testing device that will allow for the rapid collection of data on relevant identified biomarkers worldwide.
In early 2018, Prof. Shai Shenn Or, Immunologist and Associate Professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology gave a TED Talk titled: “Hey Doc, how’s my immune system doing?". The title hinted at a substantial gap that still exists today in our ability to decipher the many signals given off by our immune system. In the talk, Shenn Or speaks of an ongoing revolution that is bound to change traditional healthcare approaches in a fundamental manner. It entails moving from the reactive response to apparent symptoms and conditions towards their early detection and prescribing interventions that could often slow and sometimes prevent them from arising altogether.
In a previous post in this blog, we discussed how testing for specific biomarkers in our immune system could aid in assessing the risk of different individuals becoming severely ill if infected by a given pathogen, such as the recent novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. But our immune system is far more telling than just aiding in anticipating the immunological response to acute inflammation. Perhaps more substantially, it can help us in anticipating conditions, hitherto termed non-communicable disorders, that may arise through a persistent state of Systemic Chronic Inflammation (SCI).
Systemic Chronic Inflammation can be perceived as a perpetual triggering and activation of the immune system. It is the result of many poor lifestyle habits and circumstances, such as stress, exposure to allergens, smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet and sleep, and general physical inactivity, that continually generate immunological responses in our bodies. However, trying to make sense of these signals is an intricate endeavor as the signals given off by different immune systems may be substantially varied among people. To assess an individual’s state of inflammation, it is not enough to sample a person’s immune system balance one-off. Instead, System Chronic Inflammation must be monitored, routinely, against a personalized base-line to spot changes, be they positive, in response to prescribed interventions and lifestyle alterations, or negative in response to harmful stimuli.
At the moment, we are missing out on truly monitoring and taking control of our health due to a lack of identified biomarkers for SCI, an entrenched and outdated testing system, which is costly, bears a long turnaround time, and lacks multiplexing capabilities and cloud connectivity to allow for intelligent data analysis and machine learning. Unfortunately, the long-anticipated shift to point-of-care (POC) diagnostics, previously discussed in this blog, is a solution that faces difficult challenges. It requires the alignment of many stakeholders (physicians, insurance companies, legislators, etc.), some of whom resist this much-needed change. Furthermore, using the technologies available at points-of need will still require scheduling appointments and other logistic hurdles (e.g., a phlebotomist). Therefore, the ideal solution to allow individuals to take maximal control of their health and well being would be through leapfrogging over all these stakeholders directly to home-testing.
While several companies are trying to tweak old technologies (such as ‘lateral flow’) to offer a suitable solution, we at Proactive Diagnostics, are convinced that our Q-SENS technology (based on an Optical Silicon chip) is the only one that offers a completely new approach, which successfully meets all challenges to provide an effective home-testing solution :
Performance (sensitivity and specificity) equal to or better than central lab testing.
Multiplexing of up to 32 different tests/targets in a single run.
Fast results (5 minutes)
Small (5ul) sample size (blood, saliva, or any other bodily fluid) eliminating the need for a phlebotomist.
Unparalleled simplicity, affordable pricing both for the device ($300) and the consumable (<$5).
Cloud connectivity, allowing quality control as well as integration with AI for data analysis and reporting.
Proactive Diagnostics is committed to developing its proprietary Q-SENS platform to a product and collaborating with strategic partners to expedite bringing to market as many tests as possible. Such a solution, once available, will completely change the existing testing paradigm and empower individuals, with guidance from their physicians, to take control of their wellbeing like never before.
We are excited to work on this important mission. Follow us and share our vision!