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Portable heart monitoring device to protect mental health patients

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monitoring device

A portable monitoring device that detects heart irregularities in minutes has helped to protect mental health patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be rolled out across the North East and North Cumbria, UK.

NHSX has been supporting this work through funding the deployment of remote monitoring technology across the country, including a series of programs in the North East and North Cumbria, as well as connecting people across the country to learn from each other’s experience.

Patients using certain antipsychotic medications require regular ECGs due to the possible risk of arrhythmias, which can cause convulsions, dizziness and fainting and, in rare cases, sudden cardiac death.

During the early stages of the pandemic, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) began using the KardiaMobile 6L portable ECG device within its community teams to monitor patients in their own homes to ensure essential ECGs continued, while also reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the ability to be socially distant during the process.

Traditionally, patients undergo ECGs in a clinical setting using a large twelve-lead ECG connected to the patient who is required to partially undress, have their skin prepared and ten separate leads attached to their chest, legs, and arms. The KardiaMobile 6L is a small, wireless device that is quicker and less intrusive providing a reading in 30 seconds.

“Through the pandemic at NHSX, we have been helping scale new technology that allows clinicians to monitor and assess patients’ conditions remotely. As part of our Innovation Collaborative, NHSX is delighted to be working in partnership with innovators and teams that are transforming care for thousands of people,” Tara Donnelly, chief digital officer, NHSX, said in a statement.

The team at TEWV, procured 30 devices which were used to track the impact of antipsychotic drugs on a patient’s cardiac health in the comfort of their own home over an initial three-month pilot period.

During that time, more than 300 patients were monitored within the Trust, saving an average of 17.5 minutes per ECG. Staff and patient feedback have been overwhelmingly positive, with 100 percent of patients surveyed saying they preferred the new technology to the old approach.

“More patients in the North East and North Cumbria requiring antipsychotic medication will now have their ECG recorded in their own homes and assessed remotely by clinicians that ensure their medication can be safely administered,” Donnelly added.

A conventional ECG involves a large 12-lead machine which needs to be administered by trained professional and can be time consuming and intrusive. The process is less comfortable for the patient and the data output from the ECG is paper based, meaning that analysis and response to the findings take longer.

Journalist for 8 years in print media, with a bachelor degree in Political Science and International Affairs. Masters in Media communications.

MedTech

Vista Equity invests $300 million in telehealth software firm TigerConnect- sources

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Healthcare communications software provider TigerConnect has raised $300 million in growth investment from private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The valuation of TigerConnect wasn’t known. It last raised $45 million at a valuation of $370 million in September 2020, according to PitchBook data, counting HealthQuest Capital and New Leaf Ventures as its backers. Some of the early investors have exited through Vista’s investment, one of the sources said.

Santa Monica, California-based TigerConnect delivers cloud-based clinical communication and collaboration solutions, including telehealth, to over 7,000 healthcare organizations and 700,000 caregivers.

In an interview, Brad Brooks, TigerConnect’s co-founder and chief executive confirmed the partnership with Vista, but declined to comment on the amount or valuation.

He said the company plans to use the proceeds to invest in its product to meet the growing need for clinical collaborations, as well as looking for acquisition opportunities.

The number of users on TigerConnect’s platform more than doubled during the past year as hospitals try to improve efficiency and the experience for patients during the pandemic, Brooks added.

“There had really been a dramatic lack of efforts around clinical workflow communication. We’re almost like a Slack for healthcare, putting in a common communication network so that everyone can reach everyone,” said Brooks.

The company, founded in 2010, sells subscription-based software solutions, including collaboration, communication, scheduling and patient engagement. It also plans to utilize AI and machine learning technology to provide smart solutions based on the platform data.

Vista has over $86 billion in assets under management and specializes in investing in enterprise software, data and technology companies. Last week, it invested an undisclosed amount in BlueConic, a Boston-based customer data platform.

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MedTech

AstraZeneca booster shot is effective against Omicron variant

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A study from an Oxford University lab published on Thursday revealed that a three-dose course of AstraZeneca booster shot is efficient in controlling the fast spread of the Omicron variant.

The Pharmaceutical company said in its statement that the results – while they have yet to be released in a peer-reviewed medical journal – are relatively identical to those of its rivals, including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. They also uncovered that their booster vaccines effectively fight the latest Coronavirus variant.

After receiving the third dose of AstraZeneca, the study highlighted that the shot had a neutralizing effect against the virus, which had an almost identical result to the two shots against its previous variant, Delta.

“As we better understand Omicron, we believe we will find T-cell response provides durable protection against severe disease and hospitalizations,” the head of AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceutical R&D, Mene Pangalos, said when referring to a significant element of the immune system that fights infection.

After taking the Vaxzervria – the third booster shot – antibody levels marked a much higher rate than antibodies in patients who had already caught the virus and naturally regained health, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said.

On Tuesday, the pharmaceutical firm announced that it is already working with its partner, Oxford University, to develop a vaccine exclusively directed towards fighting the Omicron variant, mirroring other MedTech companies’ attempts.

The university’s study incorporated 41 samples from individuals who had already taken the first two shots of AstraZeneca and others who took the booster one. The lab examined and analyzed blood samples from people infected with the virus and others vaccinated with the two dozes, the third booster shot, and finally, those who had already caught one of the coronavirus variants.

It is worth mentioning that AstraZeneca stated that while the Oxford University lab results support its booster shot, the study was completely independent of researchers who had previously joint efforts with the London-based firm on the vaccine.

The world is looking to halt back from the detrimental effect the pandemic is spreading, with governments and scientists seeking to heighten fortifications in their health sectors against the Omicron.

Even since its emergence on the scene, the latest COVID-19 variant proved to be one of the most dominant variants to date. Governments are worried it might become globally spread after the holidays if they fail to curb the infections rate.

Earlier this month, the UK endorsed third shots after discovering that boosters have a vital role in restoring protection against other diseases triggered by the Omicron. 

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MedTech

Moderna, unfazed by Omicron, prepares for 2022 vaccination campaign

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Moderna, unfazed by Omicron, prepares for the 2022 vaccination campaign

Covid-19 vaccine-making veteran Moderna seems unfazed by the emergence of the Omicron variant, saying that they can begin work on developing a booster short within a couple of weeks, according to Chief Executive Stephane Bancel.

“It only needs minor adjustments for Omicron, I don’t expect any problems,” said Bancel in an interview with the Swiss newspaper TagesAnzeiger.

Though hoping to begin clinical trials in early 2022, for the time being, they will be relying on the booster dose of their mRNA-1273 vaccine to counter the fast-spreading coronavirus variant. 

The company is now awaiting vital information on the new variant to begin vaccine development, which could take up to one or two weeks.

Bancel says that it will take another few months to produce 500 million doses after all the regulatory requirements have been met, citing that their capabilities and experience as a company today have increased compared to one year ago.

In 2021, Moderna managed to create around 700 million to 800 million vaccine doses. In 2022, they expect to escalate production capacity from 100 million doses per month to 150 million per month. 

Deals were also made with Swiss-based drug manufacturer Lonza to boost production further and plan to fire up their factory lines in the first quarter of 2022.

The company is currently discussing a future ‘vaccine subscription’ service with Switzerland that works to ensure a steady supply. This move helps improve ties with the country, which Moderna is keen to proceed with after signing parliamentary agreements with Canada and Australia.

“We have a number of new vaccines in development, for example against influenza or against the RS virus, which causes a respiratory disease that is fatal in the elderly and young children,” Bancel added.

“We can combine these three mRNA vaccines into one dose and propose to governments to secure supplies for a certain amount for several years and then invest in a production facility in that country,” he added.

With this, the company can designate certain countries as having priority should another pandemic occur in the future.

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