Blood testing startup partners with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center to support COVID-19 quarantine measures

Sight Diagnostics’ compact blood analyser has been installed to support the management of infected patients.
By Tammy Lovell
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Credit: CDC via Unsplash

Israeli blood testing startup Sight Diagnostics has announced a collaboration with Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv to mitigate the risk of contamination by COVID-19.

Sight’s OLO blood analyser will provide rapid complete blood count (CBC) results in a dedicated lab to process samples of COVID-19 patients who are being monitored and treated in a separate field hospital. 

Prior to deploying OLO for COVID-19 patient testing, Sight ran a two-month evaluation at the central lab of Sheba Medical Center, which led to the implementation for CBC testing.

OLO enables health care providers to use a self-contained cartridge to collect two drops of blood, from either a venous or finger prick sample, which is inserted into OLO to receive CBC results in minutes. It creates more than 1,000 high resolution images from the sample, which are interpreted by fully automated algorithms.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally is now over 200,000, as of 18 March.

Dr Ram Doolman, director of Sheba’s laboratories division, said that OLO’s compact design makes it easy to set up quickly in a setting reserved for testing contagious blood samples.

“By setting up a quarantined lab that requires special protocols in handling samples from infected patients, we’re taking the necessary steps to protect our staff who are on the frontlines, fighting the coronavirus epidemic,” he said.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Last year, Sight raised $27.8 million in Series C funding, including a $10 million strategic investment from consumer digital health fund Longliv Ventures. 

Sheba has been turning to telehealth to treat incoming coronavirus-exposed patients, using solutions such as Datos's remote patient monitoring platform, Tyto Care's connected devices, a robot from InTouch Health, and XRHealth’s virtual reality telehealth services to treat and monitor patients in quarantine and at home.

ON THE RECORD

Yossi Pollak, CEO of Sight, said: “Typically, monitoring a patient infected with a virus like COVID-19 would involve taking a blood sample from the infected individual with a needle, labelling vials of drawn blood, sending those vials to a lab outside of the quarantine zone, and receiving the results of the test an hour or more later. For health facilities in countries where OLO is available for point-of-care use, that tactical advantage could make a big difference in a field setting.”

Yochay Eshel, VP of R&D at Sight, said: “We believe in the impact our technology could have on the management of infectious disease, and we are keen to do our part to help.” 

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Ralf-Gordon Jahns (pictured on the right) is the Managing Director of Research2Guidance, a leading market analyst and strategy consultancy company for the global digital health market.

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