SQI Diagnostics develops one-hour coronavirus triage test; to receive about $1 million funding from University Health Network
According to WHO, around 60% of people with coronavirus show mild or no symptoms. Medical experts also said that the spread of Covid-19 by people who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic may be responsible for more transmission than previously thought; making control of the virus more difficult.
To address these problems, SQI Diagnostics, a life sciences and diagnostics start that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products for advanced microarray diagnostics (“SQI”), announced today it has been selected by University Health Network (“UHN”) investigators to utilize a previously developed SQI assay to assist clinicians in the triaging of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), as well as other forms of respiratory distress.
SQI will receive a portion of the almost $1 million grant awarded to UHN by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to fund the validation and testing of this novel assay, known as Rapid Acute Lung Injury Diagnostic, or “RALI-Dx™.”
RALI-Dx, comprised of several biomarkers indicative of acute lung injury, is being studied to determine its ability to accurately predict whether or not a patient experiencing acute respiratory distress caused by COVID-19 or other underlying cause, can be treated and released for self-monitored home care, admitted to a standard hospital unit, or is likely to develop severe life-threatening symptoms requiring immediate intensive care unit (ICU) admittance and advanced respiratory care measures. The test, performed in less than one hour, brings a new level of care that can be deployed in order to triage patients in the currently expanding global coronavirus pandemic.
According to the American Hospital Association, there are only 46,000 total ICU beds in the United States and demand is said to potentially reach as many as 200,000. It is also estimated that almost one million Americans could require mechanical breathing intervention with the use of ventilator machines. However, according to a paper printed in the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American healthcare system can only support this need for 135,000 people. The one-hour RALI-Dx test will allow physicians to properly allocate these resources.
With COVID-19 now a global healthcare crisis, the availability of critical resources such as ICU beds and ventilator machines are quickly becoming more endangered. With a current gap in the ability to objectively identify who requires admission to intensive care vs. who can be safely monitored at-home, hospitals are already facing significant pressure in triaging patients in respiratory distress. RALI-Dx is ideally positioned to fill this need and serve as an indispensable tool to manage limited critical resources in a historic time of need.
“Joining the global fight against COVID-19 presents a tremendous opportunity for SQI,” said Eric Brouwer, PhD, interim CEO of SQI. “Not only is it an opportunity to allow our organization to commercialize an assay we have already developed, but it is also an opportunity to make a positive impact for people around the world.”
Founded in 1999, the Toronto, Canada-based SQI Diagnostics is a medical systems company that develops proprietary technologies in multiplexing, miniaturization and automation. They provide laboratories and clinical research organizations the ability to simultaneously analyze customized multiple biomarkers down to the isotype and subclass levels, deliver accurate and quantitative patient results in an IVD format in less time, significantly reduce labor and increase profits… All in One Drop.