Woof! A trained dog can sniff out COVID-19 with 96 percent accuracy. Based on a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, their trained dogs could recognize the unique odor signature of infection from saliva and urine samples. From the study: “Dogs successfully discriminated between infected and uninfected urine samples, regardless of the inactivation protocol, as well as heat-treated saliva samples.” The specially trained dogs were all Labrador retrievers ranging in age from 1.5 to 2.5 years, along with a six-year-old Malinois. The training took three weeks. However, the length and expense of the training, plus the dogs consistently treating as positive two samples where donors were negative in PCR testing but with one person recently recovered and the other exhibiting symptoms, may limit canine detection. FierceHealthcare, PLOS One.
But without a trained dog, you might be relieved to know that CVS is carrying in-store COVID rapid tests, rolling out in various states: the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test, the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test, and the Pixel by LabCorp PCR Test Home Collection Kit. All three tests have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) which means they are not FDA cleared, but they don’t require a prescription and can be used by those with or without symptoms. CVS is placing them in-store initially in different and limited numbers of states, with the Abbott test set to be most widely available, plus online ordering. Healthcare Finance
Hydrogen Health launches a joint venture between Anthem, K Health, and Blackstone Growth. Its purpose is kind of the usual–improve care and care access at a lower cost. K Health combines a symptom checker with telemedicine–a $19 flat visit charge to see a clinician, including pediatricians. The release is a model of forward-thinking opacity as to what “innovative, digital-first healthcare solutions” might emerge, but they will target consumers, employers, and health plans. K Health’s CEO Allon Bloch will also serve as the CEO of Hydrogen Health. There is a put-and-call agreement between Anthem and Blackstone as part of the financials regarding the selling and buying of shares in the company. FierceHealthcare, Healthcare Dive
In the UK, Alcidion Group, a hospital software provider in interoperability, workflows, and clinical decision support with the Miya product suite and Patientrack, is acquiring ExtraMed. ExtraMed’s software provides real-time visibility of patient flow for NHS trusts. According to the release, ExtraMed will be purchased from current owner Hospedia, a bedside communication and entertainment unit provider. ExtraMed currently has nine customers in the NHS, including involvement as a partner in a 10-year Digital Control Centre project at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Alcidion works with 40 hospitals across the UK and is headquartered in South Yarra, near Melbourne, Australia. Alcidion news page