December 28, 2021 | At Diagnostics World News, 2021 was once again dominated by stories about COVID-19. With vaccines becoming widely available, there was still a need to expand testing capabilities, bringing these efforts right into the home with over-the-counter tests and thinking outside of the box with cheap smell-based testing. We also learned more about the process for various tests and interventions to transition from EUA to full approval, or why they might be abandoned. We got to tell the story of a toxicology testing company pivoting to become a major COVID-19 testing center, and we learned how ECGs and cytokine panels could be used to predict biological age and warn of approaching decline.
Quidel, Abbott Begin Rollout of At-Home COVID-19 Antigen Tests: In May, Paul Nicolaus reviewed the details about some of these newer at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 antigen tests and how they might help.
Scratch-and-Sniff: Smell Tests Aim to Curb COVID-19 Spread: Speaking with Derek Toomre about his u-Smell-it product, we considered the unconventional idea of using simple scratch-and-sniff tests for COVID-19 disease surveillance with their emphasis of frequency over accuracy.
EUA to Approved Pipeline for COVID-19 Tests: With the flurry of EUA approvals around COVID-19 testing and treatment (over 400 by July), we asked what the process would be for gaining full regulatory approval and what would happen with all of these products when the pandemic winds down.
Aegis Expanded to COVID-19 Testing Supported by Expandable Infrastructure: Many companies pivoted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to help in the global effort. This Nashville-based company formerly focused exclusively on toxicological testing is a particular success story, as they scaled and expanded their operations to pick up the slack in testing availability.
NIH, CDC Public Health Initiative Examines Impact of At-Home COVID-19 Testing: Back in June, the NIH and CDC began an initiative to study whether widely available at-home COVID-19 antigen testing could help quell disease spread. The idea was to test heavily and frequently in more vulnerable communities to determine if this would lead to earlier detection and reduced transmission.
Mayo May Soon Bring AI-Enabled Electrocardiograms to the Clinic: Researchers at Mayo Clinic show that standard ECG data, processed with AI, can predict biological age, and any gap between actual age and biological age can be revealing about pre-symptomatic disease.
Inflammatory Clock Measures ‘Universal’ Hallmark of Aging: In another effort toward biological age identification, Deb Borfitz reported on an inflammatory clock developed at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging based on a panel of circulating cytokines. The researchers used AI to identify this clock and show its ability to predict frailty seven years in advance.
Making Comprehensive Genomic Profiling More Comprehensive by Enabling Greater Access: Comprehensive genomic profiling offers much promise to simultaneously assess the four main classes of genomic alterations that may be responsible for driving cancer growth. But getting this type of testing to patients—and incorporating it into health systems—comes with some challenges.