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Novel COVID-19 POC Screening Tool Based on Proprietary Nano-Sensors and ML Techniques

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NanoScent COVID-19 (Novel COVID-19 POC Screening Tool Based on Proprietary Nano-Sensors and ML Techniques)

Reporting period: 2020-08-01 to 2021-07-31

To contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO has published travel advice for international traffic. Besides the advice for individual passengers on general measures to reduce the risk of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, screening is advised for areas with ongoing transmission of the virus. Exist screening includes (1) checking for signs and symptoms, (2) epidemiological interviews of passengers coming from ongoing transmission areas, and (3) measuring body temperature. However, the overall screening strategy in in-effective, mainly due to the low-sensitivity and low-specificity.
NanoScent has been working on a novel POC diagnostic tool based on proprietary nano-sensors and machine learning techniques that has a potential for many different applications. NanoScent technology has the potential to detect COVID-19 through scent recognition in the first 14 days of incubation.
As COVID-19 spreads, governments are trying to find test kits that can be used at a large scale and can deliver results quickly and accurately. In fact, test kits have been one of the main ways to determine if a patient has COVID-19 but results from throat-swab tests can be inaccurate. In Europe, this is an even bigger challenge due to the dense population and a myriad of health systems and patchwork of states connected. As the testing that is available now is not working, governments have no other choice than to put us all into quarantine at home or at least enforce social distancing.
Our mission is to create a platform for scent recognition that is used by industrial plants, where there is a great need to prevent leaks that could cause environmental disasters. Given the urgency and impact of the COVID-19 spread, we now want to use the project to prioritize testing and certification NanoScent for the detection of COVID-19.
The project has recently started.
We are using a series of communication and commercialisation strategies for maximum market impact
• Direct Sales: We will approach companies that fit into our main target customer groups directly, including hospitals, public transportation companies, airports, airlines, malls, clubs, courts, supermarkets, etc. We have been approached by 30 companies to provide them with COVID-19 screening technology (the detailed list is included on the next page).
• Indirect Channels:
o Pilot user recommendations: Our pilot users will hopefully recommend NanoScent to others. Their competitors might want NanoScent as well.
o Government organizations, such as hospitals: Once NanoScent will have been tested, we will approach government organizations of different countries and propose NanoScent to them, especially those countries that will still be in high need of testing for the COVID-19 virus.
o Universities and academic institutions: We will work with academic institutions and will make sure to appear in at least one peer-reviewed professional paper.
• Conferences and Speaking Engagements: We will present our solution in academic and health-oriented events and exhibitions, which is happening online at the moment.
• Online promotional strategy: website, emailing, medical and scientific publications, social Media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn), Blog posts in specialized blogs, Community Support (support manual, training sessions, online support manual, help tickets, FAQs).
• Associations: We will talk to International Air Transport (IATA) in order to reach the airline industry, as the IATA represents 290 airlines or 82% of the total air traffic. We will talk to them so that they can consider adopting our Scent Recognition technology as a standard screening tool at board gate control and establish virus-free airline Standard association stamps. We will also try to convince the World Health Organization (WHO) to certify the information and data won from our tests as trustworthy and accurate for the purpose of directing and coordinating international effort to control and contain virus outbreaks. We will also approach the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to declare Scent Recognition screening methods and protocol as standard method for screening. Once we have finish our tests, we also will make sure that our technology will be approved and certified European Commission (CE).
• Trade journals: Today’s Medical Development, Med-Tech Innovation News, Times of Israel, Financial Times
NanoScent goes beyond the state-of-the-art, which are PCRs in the following three points:
• Virus scent via nasal breath collection: use of diagnostics via breath have been researched for years yet never adopted in a real clinical setting. Since URV strives in the upper respiratory system during the infection cycle, there is great opportunity for acceptance of nasal breath collection as a fast and easy method of diagnosis and establishing a scientific connection between viruses and scent. This is a completely new approach we aspire to advance as a new standard for quick and safe URV screening.
• Better airport staff safety: collection method and consumable designed to be highly bio-safe. Filling the bag is designed to be done easily by the passenger without assistance from skilled staff. The nasal breath sample is designed to be contained and sealed inside the bag. A trained staff equipped with personal safety gear could perform the sample delivery to scent recorder and measurement safely without being exposed to the nasal breath sample. The bag is designed to let only the ‘virus scent’ to reach the sensor (i.e. only VOCs and not the virus itself that may be trapped inside the bag). Measurement is designed to use all the nasal breath samples. Excess nasal breath sample is designed to be treated at the scent recorder outlet by a carbon filter (i.e. to avoid possibility of exposure to exhaust nasal breath sample). Consumable (i.e. bag and tube) at the end of measurement may be easily disposed of biohazard containers. Therefore, in a way, the staff (i.e. airport, hospital, etc.) safety situation will be much better than in the case of standing near a potential COVID-19 infected while interviewing for epidemiology and/or measuring using a thermometer.
• ‘Ever learning’ method: Since the methodology involves an artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of machine learning, it is considered ‘ever learning’ and able to continuously improve with each measurement that is tagged correctly with either COVID-19 positive or COVID-19 negative and other metadata. Namely, the method will improve over time from the day of algorithmic model upload to the point where the sensitivity and specificity would be very high and therefore the method would be considered highly credible.
There seem to be as many methods to contain the spread of the pandemic as countries in Europe: from nationwide lockdowns to school shutdowns, European authorities are creating a patchwork of measures to stop or slow down the coronavirus. These inconsistent measures make containing the virus very difficult. This entire dilemma could be contained if there was one cost effective method to systematically test people. The NanoScent technology has the potential to provide this solution.
The UN trade agency estimates that COVID-19 is likely to cost the economy €1 trillion during 2020. Even if each person in the world got tested with our NanoScent COVID-19 screening tool twice over, the cost would still be lower with €15.4 for testing (twice 7.7 billion humans) plus the containment cost.
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