Flyover Country fights the pandemic
A special report from:
Washington U develops COVID-19 saliva test
Chris Sawyer, Lab Manager, and Lauren Burcea, Clinical Lab Manager; photo courtesy Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a saliva-based diagnostic test for COVID-19 that doesn’t require the swabs and reagents that have been hard to obtain. The team collaborated with biotech firm Fluidigm, which recently received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA to allow WashU to perform the test.
The researchers say the test can deliver results in just a few hours, detecting even a small amount of the virus in a patient’s saliva, and can be scaled to test large numbers of people. The patients can self-test, too, simply by spitting into a tube, and the sample will remain stable for “an extended period of time.”
The test will be available for public use in about a month. Meanwhile, the researchers are using it to screen students and employees who are returning to the university.
Passion, work, and community can move mountains
The team at Hive Networks understands the benefit of having passion in a mission. And that mission is an important one—bringing patients, parents, clinicians, and researchers together in a working community for better health outcomes.
John Bostick, CEO, originally planned to retire and take some time off after 36 years in IT and Software Development. Ten days into retirement, he met Dr. Peter Margolis, researcher and change agent from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Margolis was devoted to improving outcomes for pediatric and chronic diseases through Learning Health Networks. Bostick knew that software and analytics had the potential to increase the spread of the model Margolis was working on. He was sold.
“It didn’t take me long to come out of retirement to become part of a global movement to provide the quality of life that everyone deserves, help increase the speed of improved outcomes, and make the US healthcare system more affordable,” Bostick said.
Scott Roth, CTO, is also passionate about solving problems in healthcare with technology solutions that truly help people and are developed by a collaborative team. The Hive mission is to provide a technology platform that brings working communities together to improve the quality of care of millions of people.
“The team we have assembled at Hive provides motivation for me to keep pushing forward. Our team lives the mission and is working hard together to provide solutions to enable these Learning Health Networks. Being part of this team is more than just a job,” Roth said. “Providing a safe community for patients to find the information they need, to share their problems or struggles, and be a part of improving their own health is extremely important.”
Click here to learn more about HIVE Networks and their passion driven team.
Aerosol scientist tests spread of virus in bands
How dangerous is it for marching bands to play in the era of coronavirus? That might not top your list of concerns these days but it’s something schools and musicians across the country want to know. So to help find the answer, Jun Wang an aerosol scientist at the University of Cincinnati conducted a study of the production of aerosols among students as they sang or played brass and woodwind instruments indoors. Here’s what he found.
Wang and his team set up aerosol collection devices in three places: directly in front of musicians, six feet away, and 10 feet away. He tested two mezzo sopranos, as well as musicians who played clarinet, flute, French horn, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and tuba. Each musician performed six 10-minute tests.
If you guessed the mezzo sopranos spread the most aerosol, you are correct. At a distance of six feet, the trumpeter came in a distant second, with all the other instruments far behind.
Corporate clients drive new business for Varsity Tutors
Not all businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic. St. Louis EdTech Varsity Tutors is experiencing “a massive uptick” in business coming from the corporate sector, according to founder and CEO Chuck Cohn.
The pandemic has given the online learning and tutoring platform a boost overall, as many school systems are looking for remote teaching solutions—but the company has also seen an escalation in the number of organizations looking to provide professional training options for their work-from-home employees.
Cohn said that over the past few months, the company has shifted its resources to support the expanding demand, with an emphasis on online classes rather than tutoring. He described the company as looking “radically different” since the arrival of COVID-19 and said it has made corporate clients a much bigger priority.
Attend the virtual Vogt Awards Demo Day on Oct. 15
Register now for the virtual Vogt Awards Demo Day on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Meet the six 2020 early-stage companies selected to each receive a $25,000 grant, participation in a 10-week lean startup program, coaching from scalable startup CEOs, industry mentorship, and strategic introductions. With the announcement of these winners, the Community Foundation of Louisville is honored to have supported 84 companies with $3.5 million in Vogt Award grants throughout the program's 20-year history. You don’t want to miss this celebration, register here.
E-commerce grows in wake of pandemic
One of the most notable side effects of the pandemic has been the sharp rise in e-commerce. As more and more consumers are buying goods online, e-commerce business has skyrocketed. In fact, according to IBM’s annual US retail index, COVID-19 has driven e-commerce forward by about five years.
Along with the explosion in e-commerce sales comes the need to store and distribute all that merchandise—and Kansas City is well positioned to take on that challenge. Local leaders and economic developers tout the area as an ideal supply chain hub due to its central location, available real estate, transportation infrastructure, and talented workforce.
A number of projects are underway in the region to support the growth of e-commerce, including Heartland Logistics Park. At its groundbreaking in June, Kansas governor Laura Kelly said, “This project is exactly what our state needs right now to boost the morale of this region and give hope to Kansans that we will get through this time stronger than we were before.”
Tech helps Cincinnati Reds train around COVID
The Cincinnati Reds are monitoring their complex baseball operations this season using a new network-as-a-service (NaaS) solution from Cincinnati-based IT company CBTS. The system, which is built on Cisco Meraki technology, lets the Reds’ front-office execs and scouts keep an eye on players in real time at any one of the team’s seven locations across the US, plus the new COVID-safe location at Prasco Park in Mason.
Even with the cancellation of the entire 2020 minor league baseball schedule due to COVID, MLB execs still need to keep tabs on players and prospects. The CBTS/Cisco NaaS tech includes live video feeds, cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing, and security around the clock. Reds personnel have access to a centralized web dashboard, which lets them keep tabs on promising (and not-so-promising) talent, wherever they are in the organization.
Share stories, offer suggestions, or comment!