Roundup: ORCHA calls on developers to create apps for long COVID, airflow simulation technology adopted in Paris hospital and more briefs

Also, HealthHero study indicates high patient satisfaction is set to increase the use of telehealth services.
By Sara Mageit
11:37 am

Credit: Shutterstock


According to The Times [behind paywall], deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries is reportedly the preferred candidate for the chief executive of the recently announced UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Recommended by UK health secretary Matt Hancock, the appointment is yet to be approved by prime minister, Boris Johnson this month.

Although she will be overseeing the national fight against coronavirus, when asked about mass test and trace a year ago, she said, “there comes a point in a pandemic where that is not an appropriate intervention.”

In this role, Dr Harries will take over from Baroness Harding of Winscombe as head of coronavirus testing and the Joint Biosecurity Centre.


In response to the lack of apps designed specifically for long COVID, ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps), has called on developers to create dedicated apps for the condition.

A new report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (A long-term plan for long COVID), shows that although one in five people with COVID-19 experience symptoms that last for five weeks or longer, patients and GPs lack a clear pathway to seek information and help via websites or apps.

Liz Ashall-Payne, founding CEO of ORCHA, said: “There’s a sizeable opportunity for developers to work with patient groups and clinicians to meet this very particular need. And, for healthcare providers, specialised apps of this nature, designed to encourage self-management of very diverse symptoms, could offer a significant return on investment.”


French 3D assimilation software company, Dassault Systèmes plans to implement airflow simulation technology at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris.

The technology will evaluate airborne coronavirus infection risks in intensive care units, cafeterias and other areas within the hospital building. The airflow simulation is being used to optimise existing hospital safety measures including temporary changes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems

“We must continue to take a proactive approach in helping minimise the impact of this virus on our fellow citizens and healthcare systems,” said Claire Biot, vice president, life sciences industry, Dassault Systèmes. “Simulation can be used to improve safety in hospitals, nursing homes and specialised clinics, as well as to optimise the floor plans of hospitals that have not yet been built. This collaboration is all part of our mission to harmonise product, nature and life, and make the world a better, safer, healthier place.”


UK supplier of medical products and services, Excalibur Healthcare Services, has created a 'freedom passport', which aims to pave the way for people to mix safely in public and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed through a partnership between Excalibur, and the Oxford-based clinical AI company, Sensyne Health, the passport initiative is led by Professor Sir Chris Evans, OBE and his lateral flow diagnostics team in Cambridge and Lord Drayson from Sensyne.

Using Sensyne’s algorithm technology in conjunction with Excalibur’s COVID-19 testing systems, the team has created a freedom passport, which claims to differ from other available products as it uses technology that executes the testing process, rather than simply reading results.

The Excalibur COVID-19 tests are MHRA registered or processed in Excalibur’s UKAS accredited labs, and the certification technology is available as both a smartphone app and a web application.



Research from European telehealth provider, HealthHero’s recently found that high patient satisfaction is set to increase the use of telehealth services, even as lockdown restrictions lift.

The recent Silent Sufferers Report by HealthHero examined the perceptions around telehealth usage and found that of those who had a remote GP appointment during the pandemic, 58% were positive about the experience. 

The findings show that 82% of patients found the technology easy or very easy to use, with 5% finding it difficult or very difficult. Thirty-three percent of people said they will continue to use remote healthcare from now on.

The report also looked at behaviours around in-person appointments and found that 34% of UK adults avoided making a GP appointment due to COVID-19. Forty-five percent cited ‘not wanting to burden the NHS’ as their main reason for not visiting their GP in person.


Multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company, Takeda is looking for innovative solutions in medicine to bring better health to people worldwide.

Takeda aims to accelerate the use of digital and data to create life-saving medicines, while easing the burden of diagnosis and treatment for patients and healthcare providers.

Winners will benefit from a partnership with Takeda which includes a dedicated point of contact and funding to support and define the roadmap to bring the innovation to commercialidation.

Takeda is looking for solutions that could apply to one of these therapeutic issues: sleep disorders such as narcolepsy; treatment of transplant recipients such as refractory/resistant cytomegalovirus infections; and genetic rare diseases such as Hereditary Angioedema.

Applications are open to startups based in the EU, EEA, UK, Switzerland, and Israel, with solutions in real world evidence, integrated and personalised care and early diagnosis. Startups can submit their applications here.


US-based medical diagnostic testing platform, Fluxergy has announced that it has obtained CE marking for its one-hour COVID-19 RT-PCR test, to use by healthcare professionals as an in vitro diagnostic (IVD) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.

The CE-mark will allow Fluxergy’s testing platform to enter the European Union market and any other markets that accept CE-marking as valid regulatory approval.

Fluxergy’s platform is an automated testing platform with multimodal capability allowing for molecular, immunochemistry, chemistry, and cytometry assays, to be run simultaneously on the same cartridge.

Fluxergy has made its platform available as a Research Use Only (RUO) system for its partners, including University of California San Diego and Mass General Brigham, during the pandemic.


UK digital health company, Healum, known for developing AI-powered patient management systems to improve quality of life for people with long-term conditions, has raised funding to expand the company's operations in Greater Manchester, UK.

The investment will aid healthcare professionals in delivering programmes of remote care, support and behaviour change for people living with long-term conditions through its AI-powered clinical software.

The company has raised funding from NPIF - Maven Equity Finance, managed by Maven and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Catapult Ventures acting on behalf of the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund.

Jonathan Abraham, Healum’s co-founder and CEO, said: “We are delighted to have received investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund. This gives us the opportunity to build on our existing clinical and research partnerships in Greater Manchester, to tap into the wealth of talent in the region and to play our part in championing innovations that will help individuals with long-term conditions manage their health so they can live longer, more fulfilling lives.”


Digital health platform, Infinity Health it is being used to automate reminders to staff to submit self-testing COVID-19 results, and to collect data required by Public Health England.

Barts Health NHS trust is the latest NHS organisation to roll-out Infinity Health’s digital task management platform to record and report on staff self-testing. The move brings the total number of staff in NHS hospitals using Infinity to more than 37,000, which is 15% of those required to self-test.

The trust joins University Hospital Southampton NHS FT, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS trust, The Royal Marsden NHS FT, and Stockport NHS FT.

Karen Green, lateral flow testing lead at Barts Health NHS trust, said: “Our staff told us that they wanted a system to report their COVID-19 test results quickly. Using Infinity means they only needed to enter the date of test, test strip number and result - reducing the amount of repeated information and saving time and effort. Infinity ensures results are recorded accurately and makes data reporting simple and quick.”



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