Flyover Country fights the pandemic
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Kroger launches at-home COVID test
Image courtesy Kroger
Kroger has partnered with health tech company Gauss to offer a smartphone-enabled, at-home COVID-19 test kit. The Gauss COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit is currently awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Once authorized, it will be the first rapid COVID-19 test that can be fully performed using only a smartphone and a lateral flow assay without involving a lab, a telemedicine visit, or any specialized electronics (similar to an at-home pregnancy test).
The kit includes a nasal swab and step-by-step video instructions. The app will prompt the patient to do the scan, then using AI-based technology, will provide patients with their results in seconds, helping minimize reader variability. To fulfill legal reporting requirements, the app seamlessly shares the secure results with appropriate public health agencies.
PIT testing air quality dashboard
Pittsburgh International Airport, along with Honeywell, is testing a live dashboard measuring air quality that will help airport staff identify and correct issues in real time. The tech is being developed at xBridge, a 10,000 square-foot innovation center located inside the airport. The dashboard measures key indoor air quality parameters such as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.
The real-time updates will come from a network of sensors that are integrated into existing systems in the airport and will help reduce the spread of airborne disease.
Also, if an area reports a high level of carbon dioxide, airport staff could adjust ventilation or check social distancing in that location.
Nasal spray could stop COVID from going to lungs
John Messina, a Purdue alumnus, has designed a nasal spray that is meant to kill COVID-19 in the nasal cavity before it reaches the lungs. While not a replacement for the vaccine, the self-administered spray is another tool to reduce the chances of infection. Messina is currently seeking funding for the treatment, which is in the early stages of clinical development. If it eventually meets approval by the FDA, the drug will require a prescription for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 or test positive.
“Since 2000, we’ve seen many flu strains like COVID, like the SARS epidemic,” Messina told The Exponent. “This type of threat is not going away. There are already variants. If there is a pandemic in the future, we hope a product like ours would be available to prevent the catastrophic spread like this one.”
Encouraging data on light-emitting device for COVID treatment
There’s good news coming out of Durham research outfit EmitBio in regard to the efficacy of a handheld device that uses light to treat COVID-19. New data released shows that those using the device, which directs precise wavelengths of visible light at the back of the throat to attack the virus and activate the body’s immune system, saw significantly faster reduction in viral load. Over half the treated subjects had no virus remaining after seven days.
"Saliva is highly biologically relevant for measuring SARS-CoV-2 viral load," Dr. Nate Stasko, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at EmitBio said in a release. "In this trial, and in other studies, the quantity of virus and total body bio-burden were strongly correlated with disease outcomes. When you reduce the amount of virus in the body, people get better."
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