‘Tis the season for the flu, colds, and other respiratory diseases. Not exactly something to put a person in the holiday spirit, right? Well, a company in the United Kingdom is currently working on some pretty cool technology, that supposedly will help detect these illnesses in their early stages — during the time when treatments are most affective.
OJ-Bio, the company that has been developing the new biosensor device, recently received government backing for the device. According to OJ-Bio, the device “is intended to provide rapid, simple and low-cost diagnoses of flu and respiratory conditions.” Below is a picture of the device, hooked up to a smart phone:
The device can be used just about anywhere — at home, work, school. The results are available almost immediately — which is much better than having to wait for lab results, which can sometimes take hours or even days. According to the article, OJ Bio has been working with the U.K.’s Health Protection Agency for the past few years on this project, and the device accurately detected respiratory illnesses even quicker than other methods. Some of the viruses that were in the test protocol included Influenza A and B as well as Respiratory Synctvial Virus.
In the press release, chief executive of OJ-Bio said:
Flu viruses cause misery for millions of people each year and early diagnosis is vital. Drugs are only effective in the first few days after symptoms appear and current tests, which involve laboratory analysis of samples, simply aren’t fast enough.
I’ve mentioned before that my son had RSV when he was just two weeks old. During the experience, I came to appreciate the importance of diagnosing illnesses like that very quickly and early on. We were very lucky and caught it just when he started to get it, so he was able to receive treatment and it didn’t get as bad as it could have. However, not everyone is so lucky, and aren’t diagnosed with the flu or other respiratory illnesses until they get to the point where treatments aren’t super effective. In the winter, it is sometimes hard to go to the doctor, especially since there’s the risk of picking up other illnesses while there. Having a device like this could be so helpful in helping people know if their cold or stomachache is more than just something passing by. I’ve read a lot lately about people who have been hospitalized by the flu, and I wonder how many of those could have avoid hospitalization if something like this had been available.
I’m not sure if this will be available in the United States as well, but I sure hope it will be. Definitely another item I’d want to add to my home-health kit!