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Using AI tools to help fight against COVID-19

Mounir Jamil

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Inside Look into AI Tools against COVID-19

Prior to the world being even aware of the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus, artificial intelligence (AI) systems had already successfully detected an outbreak of an unknown type of pneumonia in China. As the coronavirus spread, AI tools have been deployed to support the efforts made by the medical community, policy makers and society at large to manage the stages of the crisis and its aftermath.

Using AI to understand and treat COVID-19
AI tools can help the medical community and policymakers understand the COVID-19 virus further and accelerate research in treatments via rapidly analyzing big volumes of research data. Furthermore, data mining tools and AI text can reveal the virus’ history, diagnostics, transmission, management measures and can give lessons from past epidemics.

Deep learning models have the ability to predict old and new drugs and treatments that might be successful in treating coronavirus. Several institutions are utilizing AI to identify treatments and develop prototype vaccines.

Dedicated platforms allow the sharing and consolidation of multidisciplinary expertise on AI. The US government has started a dialogue with international government science leaders that include utilizing AI in accelerating the analysis of coronavirus literature that is made available using the Kaggle Platform.

Furthermore, computing power for AI is also being made available by technology companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and individuals donating computer processing power, alongside public-private efforts like the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium and AI for Health.

Using AI in the diagnosis, detection, and prevention of COVID-19
AI can also be employed to help detect, diagnose and prevent the spread of the virus. Algorithms that identify patterns and anomalies are already working to detect and predict the spread of COVID-19, while image recognition systems are speeding up medical diagnosis. For example:

AI against COVID-19 can also be used to diagnose, detect, and prevent the spread of the virus. Algorithms can identify anomalies and patterns and they are already working on detecting and predicting the spread of the virus, all while image recognition systems are speeding up medical diagnosis.

Early warning systems powered by AI, can help detect epidemiological patterns by mining mainstream news, and online content with other information channels in multiple languages to provide early warnings. These early warnings complement syndromic surveillance and other healthcare networks and data flows.

AI tools also identify virus transmission chains and monitor broader economic impacts. AI technologies have demonstrated their potential in inferring epidemiological data more rapidly than other traditional reporting methods.

Rapid diagnosis is another of the AI tools against COVID-19, and it is the key to limiting contagion and understanding how the virus spreads.

Furthermore semi-autonomous drones and robots are being used to respond to the immediate needs of hospitals such as delivering medicine, equipment and food, sterilizing, cleaning and aiding medical staff.

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MedTech

J&J single dose COVID-19 vaccine receives FDA emergency use authorization

Inside Telecom Staff

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single dose COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine has received its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.   

The vaccine was developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and received authorization based on the totality of scientific evidence, including data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE study that demonstrated the vaccine was 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied, and showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.

The terms of the EUA allow use of the vaccine while more data are gathered. The Company plans to file for a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA later in 2021.

“This milestone follows a year of incredible work by our dedicated teams and unprecedented collaboration with health leaders around the world – all of whom shared a goal of bringing a single-shot vaccine to the public,” said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Johnson & Johnson. “We will do everything we can to help bring this pandemic to an end, in the United States and throughout the world.”

According to a company statement, J&J will look to make its COVID-19 vaccine available on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use. The company has begun shipping its COVID-19 vaccines to the U.S. government and expects to deliver enough single-shot vaccines by the end of March to enable the full vaccination of more than 20 million people in the U.S.

“We believe the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is a critical tool for fighting this global pandemic, particularly as it shows protection across countries with different variants,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “A vaccine that protects against COVID-19, especially against the severe outcomes of hospitalization and death, will help ease the burden on people and the strain on health systems worldwide.”

The company plans to deliver 100 million single-shot vaccines to the U.S. during the first half of 2021. “The U.S. government will manage allocation and distribution of the vaccine in the U.S. This will be prioritized according to the populations identified by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidelines,” the statement read.

In parallel, J&J recently announced its submission of a European Conditional Marketing Authorization Application to the European Medicines Agency as well as its filing for an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) with the World Health Organization for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

“We are thankful for the efforts of all those who have volunteered to participate in our clinical trials, our scientists, collaborators, clinical trial sites and investigators. Through the combined commitment of everyone involved, we have been able to discover, develop and manufacture a single dose COVID-19 vaccine to protect people around the world,” said Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson. 

According to the company, the vaccine is estimated to remain stable for two years at -4°F (-20°C), and a maximum of three months at routine refrigeration at temperatures of 36-46°F (2 to 8°C).

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MedTech

Wearable tech market to more than double in growth by 2026

Inside Telecom Staff

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Wearable tech

Over the years, fitness technology has grown from the bulky fridge-like mainframes to the sleek finesse of fitbits, containing more processing power than the computers that put a human on the moon.

For context, innovative tech has gone from having a dedicated room to a dedicated pocket, allowing us to work, study and monitor our health. 

Which is exactly why wearable tech is regarded as an emerging trend that integrates electronics to the daily activities and fits into the changing lifestyles and can be worn on any part of the body. As such, experts predict that the next market with this same growth potential will be wearable technologies market.

A report from Mordor Intelligence projects that the Wearable Technology Market was valued at USD 27.91 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 74.03 billion by 2026 and work at a CAGR of 17.65 percent over the forecast period (2021 – 2026).

The report published that the ability to connect to the Internet and the establishment of data exchange between a network and a device is the driving factor that led to increases wearable tech. The study considered several wearable technologies, including Smartwatches, Head Mounted Displays, Smart Clothing, Ear Worn, Fitness Trackers, Sleep Aides and wellness devices among others.

The report tracks both the volume and value of these products at a global level and region level in specific. The wearable tech market has evolved owing to the emergence of sensors among other technology.

Incorporating these sensors into a dedicated wearable device driven by the impact of smartphones being used daily, on the GPS, or the IMU (consist of accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer), the report explained, mentioning that they have helped the fitness tracking wearable to monitor body activities using these sensors. 

“The smartwatch category is also experiencing a rise, owing to the additional features, like the brand that suits the everyday lifestyle. Smartwatches are seeing a surge in new users, including the older population, because wearable makers, such as Apple and Fitbit, are adding health-monitoring features that appeal to older people and keep them updated about their health status in real-time,” the Mordor Intelligence report continued.

A perfect example of this is Apple’s features such as a fall detection app and an EKG monitor to the Apple Watch Series 4, while Fitbit added a feature to detect sleep apnea. According to the report, Apple’s 2019 fiscal year noted that it got nearly as much revenue from sales of its collection of wearable products and accessories as it derived from selling its old Mac computers which appears well on its way to becoming its second most significant line of products after the iPhone and its third-largest business category overall after its smartphone and services segment.

The company’s booming wearables and accessories segment helped to make up for the declining iPhone sales. In the period, sales of wearable and accessories products grew 54 percent in the last quarter of 2019 compared to the prior year to USD 6.5 billion, the report further explained.

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MedTech

Chronic heart and kidney failure to be treated by implantable device

Karim Hussami

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implantable device

While all sectors in our lives are being updated with the recent technological trends and ways to facilitate people’s lives, new technologies are being created to help people with their health amongst other issues.

As such, Paragate Medical, an NGT3 VC portfolio company, has developed a remote, implantable device solution for heart and kidney failure patients.

Most remote solutions use telematics to offer some type of remote monitoring, however founders Dr. Yair Feld, Nitai Hanani, and the team at Paragate have developed a solution that monitors and provides 24/7 home-based care to patients coping with chronic heart and kidney failure.

Mechanical bypass of the kidneys

Relatively recent research has shown that heart failure is a significant risk factor for kidney disease. As in, when the heart is no longer pumping efficiently, it becomes congested with blood, causing pressure to build up in the main vein connected to the kidneys and leading to congestion of blood in the kidneys, too.

Diuretics are currently the gold standard treatment but of the 26 million heart failure patients annually around the world, over one third are diuretic resistant, according to CORDIS, EU research results.

“Current solutions for fluid overload in diuretic resistant patients such as IV diuresis, ultrafiltration therapy and peritoneal dialysis all carry complications and are acute treatments which do not prevent recurrence,” the research said.

Paragate’s IPUD (Implantable Peritoneal Ultrafiltration Device) is a minimally invasive and fully implantable device that serves as a mechanical bypass of the kidneys. It actively, continuously, and non-aggressively removes excess fluid from the body to keep patients balanced at home.

How does it work?

IPUD improves the clinical condition of fluid overloaded patients by continuously removing extracellular fluids with a unique implantable peritoneal ultrafiltration device, operating non-aggressively and independently from the kidneys’ function.

The device is minimally invasive and the flat absorption device interfaces with the intraperitoneal membrane and applies a hydrostatic pressure gradient. It then continuously and slowly absorbs systemic isotonic extracellular fluid and drains it to the urinary system preventing recurred accumulation.

The device has a projected service life of 3 years and recharging the device has been made simple for the patients via wireless charging, needed on a weekly basis.

The company conducted successful preclinical studies and is planning to begin the clinical trials this year.

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