MedTech News You Missed
June 21, 2021
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by Snigdh Baunthiyal

MedTech is making advancements like never before. It’s easy to miss out on the exciting developments around medical care when there is so much happening around us every single day. We bring you what we think are the most exciting and relevant MedTech advancements of the week.

Philips recalls breathing devices

Philips is recalling millions of ventilators and sleep apnea machines. The Netherlands-based company has said it is issuing a recall because of the foam used in these machines. The foam is used to dampen the machines’ sounds but it has been found that the foam can degrade and release small particles which irritate the airways. The foam also releases gases that can be toxic or carry cancer risks. At least 4 million machines will be recalled.

Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips said, “We deeply regret any concern and inconvenience that patients using the affected devices will experience because of the proactive measures we are announcing today to ensure patient safety. In consultation with the relevant regulatory agencies and in close collaboration with our customers and partners, we are working hard towards a resolution, which includes the deployment of the updated instructions for use and a comprehensive repair and replacement program for the affected devices. Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do at Philips”

While the company hasn’t given a timeline yet, it has said it is acting on the issue as fast as possible and has made preparations to replace the old foam with new material.  The company is in the stage of obtaining relevant regulatory clearances.

Skin Analytics AI-based skin cancer tool wins NHSX award

Skin Analytics’ DERM, which analyses dermoscopic images of skin lesions using AI algorithms to diagnose skin cancer has won the highly competitive award created by the NHS. The award was created to accelerate the evaluation of Artificial Intelligence tech within the NHS. DERM is an AI solution that can identify 11 different skin lesions. It is also the only AI solution that can do this. It is currently being used in Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and University Hospitals Birmingham.

Neil Daly, CEO of Skin Analytics, said: “The AI award is a major step forward in making DERM more widely available across the NHS. It will enable us to put our technology into the hands of GPs and clinicians around the country and allow them to assess its benefits for themselves. The key to skin cancer survival is early diagnosis, and DERM helps to prioritise patients into specialist services sooner rather than later.”

Patent filed for digital education tool designed to improve inhaler use 

 French company Hephaï has filed a patent for its digital platform which has been designed to help patients with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. How does it help them? This tool can be installed on multiple devices. The patient then records themselves using their inhaler and the app analyses their movements and sounds in real-time to catch any errors they are making in using their inhaler.

It also provides suggestions on improving their technique. Unfortunately, inhaler usage errors are quite common. An estimated 30–40% of patients with COPD do not use their inhalers correctly. This can have a direct impact on how they take the medication, reducing its benefits

“Game-changing” antibody test detects exposure to new Covid-19 variants

New tests, which have been developed by the University of Aberdeen in collaboration with biotechnology group Vertebrate Antibodies Ltd and NHS Grampian can detect antibody responses to infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus with more than 98% accuracy and 100% specificity.

The new tests can be used to estimate the prevalence of circulating variant strains in the community, including the Alpha and Delta variants which were first identified in Kent and in India respectively. The tests can also assess the long-term immunity of an individual and whether immunity is vaccine-induced or is a result of previous exposure to the infection. This is invaluable information in helping to prevent the spread of infection.  

Professor Mirela Delibegovic from the University of Aberdeen and academic lead on the project explains: “Accurate antibody tests will become increasingly important in the management of the pandemic and this is a truly game-changing technology with the potential to dramatically change the trajectory of global recovery from the pandemic. As we move through the pandemic we are seeing the virus mutate into more transmissible variants such as the Delta variant whereby they impact negatively on vaccine performance and overall immunity. Currently available tests cannot detect these variants.  As the virus mutates, existing antibody tests will become even less accurate hence the urgent need for a novel approach to incorporate mutant strains into the test – this is exactly what we have achieved. “

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