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Tag: Drugs

5August 2020

Researchers develop tent to prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2 in dental settings

SINGAPORE: With the aim of preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a portable tent-like shield for use during dental procedures. Named the Dental Droplet and Aerosol Reducing Tent—the Dental DART—the foldable transparent structure is placed around the patient’s head in order to create a barrier that reduces direct and indirect exposure to viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.

The Dental DART was developed specifically for dental procedures and is based on the initial DART device that was developed in 2020 by NUS researchers in order to protect healthcare workers during the pandemic. In an NUS press release, the lead researcher on the project, Prof. Freddy Boey, deputy president for innovation and enterprise at the university, said: “The Dental DART is a design evolution, and has been prepared to protect dentists and their patients from potential infectious agents present in the aerosols that are generated during dental procedures.”

The Dental DART has an adjustable width of between 60 cm and 70 cm so that it can be used on dental chairs of different sizes. The device has no underside, which permits air to enter it, and it features three access points so that dentists and nurses can reach into it in order to perform dental procedures. The device attaches to the vacuum pump installed on the dental chair so that potentially infected aerosols and droplets can be removed from the tent and directed into the scavenging system. According to NUS, the tent decreases the number of materials contaminated by the clinician’s hands, arms and instruments and limits the spread of aerosols onto surfaces in the treatment room.

NUS said that the researchers had tested the device in clinical settings by measuring bacterial content on personal protective equipment (PPE) face shields worn by the treatment teams and on the surface of the dental chair light, before and after high-contamination scaling procedures. “The results showed [there] was no increase in the number of viable bacteria on these surfaces after the treatment with the use of the Dental DART. On the other hand, without the use of the tent, there was a significant increase in contamination by 14 times,” NUS said.

“Dental DART can help provide a safer environment in the dental clinic setting, and decrease the anxiety and psychological distresses imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic”

– Prof. Mandeep Singh Duggal, NUS

Dr Vinicius Rosa, a co-inventor of the device, commented: “Personal protective equipment, or PPE, can be infected after being exposed to aerosols from dental procedures. The use of the Dental DART can decrease the PPE exposure to aerosols and prevent further environmental contamination at the time the clinicians remove their arms, hands, and instruments from the tent.”

The research team has filed a patent for the Dental DART and hopes to collaborate with the healthcare sector and other industry partners in order to make the device available to dental teams in Singapore and around the world.

Co-inventor Prof. Mandeep Singh Duggal, of NUS Dentistry, said that the Dental DART could play a role in decreasing the stress experienced by patients and dental professionals during the pandemic. He explained: “Dentistry is an essential service and it has suffered tremendously since the beginning of this pandemic. Many dental service providers in Singapore have imposed a complete ban on aerosol-generating procedures during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. While imposing such extreme measures is understandable, it has also left thousands of people without proper treatment. Our Dental DART can help provide a safer environment in the dental clinic setting, and decrease the anxiety and psychological distresses imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on all parties involved.”

1April 2020

An IoMT Device That Can Detect Disease Through the Toilet Bowl

Technology featured in a science fiction movie has inspired a new device that could end up saving hundreds of thousands of lives and offering early warnings of future pandemics.

Israeli company OutSense has developed an IoT device which attaches to a toilet bowl and scans excretions for signs of disease.

OutSense CEO Yfat Scialom explained:

“The initial idea was born when Ishay Attar, our founder, was watching The Island, where people live in a futuristic utopian facility that continually monitors the inhabitants’ toilet activity. It came together when, by total coincidence, a relative was saved due to early detection of colon cancer.”

Established in 2016, OutSense was born with the aim of developing a technology to screen for hidden blood—an early sign of colorectal cancer. Additionally, however, Ms Scialom said, the resulting system can monitor dehydration, urinary tract infections, constipation, and diarrhea.

“The device utilizes a patented technology based on multispectral optical sensors. In general, we can literally see (by computer vision) what’s going on in the toilet bowl in three dimensions—time, space and spectrum.”

The device, which is currently at the research and development stage, employs multi-spectral optical sensors, an illumination module, and has an autonomous controller with a wifi receiver. It monitors the frequency of toilet visits, together with volumes, texture and opacity, as well as molecular composition and substances the human eye has no perception for.

Curing Through Connectivity

Results are delivered to the cloud, where real-time analysis is conducted using OutSense’s proprietary computer vision algorithms and AI. The sensor connects to the smartphone of the caregiver or user, and the system sends notifications and results immediately if an abnormality is detected.

Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with 700,000 fatalities every year, and it costs healthcare systems an estimated US $30 billion annually, said Ms Scialom.

“We believe our technology will be adopted widely and will revolutionize the way colorectal cancer is screened worldwide. In addition, it will dramatically improve quality of care in elderly facilities and will play an essential role in allowing older people to age at home.”

Becoming Standard

Expected to be launched on the market in September 2021, the device does not require any infrastructure other than connectivity. She explained:

“Costs will be different based on the various features available on different markets. We designed the product with an affordable price target, in the range of a few hundred USD, which will be divided into a one-time hardware fee and a monthly subscription.”

The hope is that the product might eventually be integrated into every standard toilet seat. Once widely deployed, it could potentially flag outbreaks of other diseases, based on the detection of specific antigens or general gut issues in specific locations.

“OutSense aims to create the world’s first and largest database of human waste. The initial market for the new technology will be the elderly care market, but this will eventually be expanded, and we will add more diseases to the detection list. Eventually, the technology could be used to detect the onset of an epidemic like Covid-19 as well as for personalized care, biofeedback, fine tuning of drug dosage and even personalized nutrition for weight control.”