Updates and Lessons from COVID-19 for Cancer Diagnostics 🙌
Dear investors and friends😃
First of all, we would like to thank everyone for their generous support and help🙌. We wanted to wait a few weeks to fully understand the impact of the coronavirus in the global context of healthcare, logistics, supply chain, markets, etc., and effectively measure the impact in our company.
As a startup, we’ve learned to survive through difficult times and looking for the best possible outcome out of every opportunity💪 We have learned to leverage the strengths of globalization while moving extremely fast and adapting to a changing environment such as right now🌎
And we would like to share some of our thoughts in the different aspects of everyone’s company, with respect today’s world situation of COVID-19:
All our team is well and has been working remotely💻📱 for the past couple of weeks. As a hardware company, it might sound hard, but the modular nature of our developments has allowed continuing work without interruptions
- Part of Delee Development Team
- Product development
These months the global logistics and supply inputs for many manufacturers and retailers all over the world chains are set for a major reshuffle as the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of countries and companies that rely heavily on a limited number of trading partners.
For example, the United States relies on three manufacturers for molecular biology reagents used for the diagnostics of COVID-19. The redundancy was developed under the case any of them fails—but all of them failed in the face of unprecedented global demand.
Learning from these experiences, we decided to make some modifications to ensure the availability of all the required components for our devices and be prepared in case of more potential delays in the future. Our current stage of development puts us in an excellent position to evaluate our suppliers and distribution channels and choose among the best👌🚚
Video showing a fully operational fluorescence microscope. We are still working on external aesthetics, but also testing many of these components to ensure the highest quality, availability, and compliance.
In the next few months, we will keep pushing product development to meet our original goals as much as possible🌟💪
-Clinical data and trials
The COVID-19 outbreak is still new, so doctors do not have a lot of specific information on this coronavirus for cancer patients. But they do have a lot of information regarding the risk of infections in general for cancer patients.
Cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious illness from an infection because their immune systems are often weakened by cancer and its treatments. Most people who were treated for cancer in the past (especially if it was years ago) are likely to have a normal immune function, but each person is different.
Therefore, patients may need to reschedule surgeries to reduce potential exposure and wait for a little while healthcare systems figure out how to handle the high demand and redirect patients to other facilities to continue their treatments.
This might delay the speed at which we are gathering clinical data, but has made us reconsider the real importance of why we are developing a robust cancer diagnostic device, easy to use and adaptable for hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and research centers. Right now, COVID-19 is detected through real-time RT-qPCR, the gold standard for the detection of the RNA of SARS-CoV-2. Usually, these methods are typically restricted in a centralized clinical laboratory due to the requirement for sophisticated equipment and well-trained personnel, which are not suitable for the easy deployment of testing in a global environment.
In this context, cancer diagnostics is not that different from this centralized laboratory model, but cancer patients might find it difficult in the incoming months to access reliable diagnostics and monitoring data as laboratory hospitals struggle with demand. This has taught us that we need to make great efforts to develop tools that automate and make accessible molecular diagnostics testing to any local clinic or physician.
These months we will be increasing our efforts in this direction. And be prepared to bring more devices where patients might need them in the future. The idea is to drastically increase the data gathering once healthcare systems figure out how to properly handle current issues.
Major research universities and research centers have closed temporarily, but we have been actively talking with our customers to understand their needs in the upcoming months. We don’t expect any of our pre-sale orders to be canceled but only delayed. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, cancer will continue to be a public health problem worldwide, and very likely continue to be the second leading cause of death globally. Research centers and hospitals will have to continue working on the development of different diagnostic, monitoring, and treatment strategies. We envision our device playing a key role in enabling some of these advancements🙌
-The future of diagnostics and our company
This crisis emphasizes the importance and heroism of the caregivers, scientists, etc., throughout the country who care for the sickest among us. After COVID-19, attention may shift to public health. We can expect to see a spike in funding for healthcare, a surge in students applying to public health programs, and domestic production of medical supplies. Expect pandemics, diagnostics, healthcare policies to top the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly.
Democratizing the delivery of sophisticated healthcare outside centralized labs is the future for the In Vitro Diagnostics Industry. We need to make healthcare accessible to everyone from anywhere✅
These conditions will greatly increase the chances of success of our company in the future, but in the meantime, we will continue developing excellent technology to everyone who may need it sooner or later. We are quite confident that we are in the correct position and path✨
-Some useful information regarding diagnostics of COVID-19
We have been asked several questions through private messages regarding COVID-19 diagnostics and we have seen lots of misinformation in the media. We would like to share some information extracted from the FDA and CDC websites💻
At this moment the only approved way to detect with high confidence the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus is through RT-qPCR, the FDA has released which devices and laboratories have been authorized to provide accurate results under the emergency use authorization (Please click here to visit the list)
At this time, the FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/faqs-diagnostic-testing-sars-cov-2
and also, we have seen a surge of companies offering quick diagnostic tests for COVID-19, but until the 2nd of April, only one company
has been approved to do so. These “quick” tests uses blood serum, the liquid part of blood, excluding cells and clotting proteins. Even though SARS-CoV-2 isn’t typically present in the blood, an infection causes white blood cells to make antibody proteins that help the immune system identify viruses and stop them, or mark infected cells for destruction.
Although these proteins can be detected in the bloodstream and blood serum, it can take several days for someone to make these antibodies after infection. So a serological test isn’t always useful for finding an active infection — and can yield a false negative, showing that someone doesn’t have the virus when they actually do. The results of these tests can also be trickier to interpret than results from the more common RT-PCR tests used to diagnose Covid-19, which detects the virus’s genetic material.
We highly advise being careful of companies claiming “quick COVID diagnostic tests,” as many countries have found to be ineffective, potentially causing more damage than help. Always visit official sites or ask authorized physicians for more information.
All the best and please be safe and take care.
Liza Velarde - CEO & Founder
+1 956 662 4893