Novel, Low-Cost COVID‑19 Point of Care Monitoring and Triaging Device
Testing for COVID‑19 is a major strategy to manage the pandemic and one of the most important criteria and measures that are needed to restart the economy in Canada (First Ministers’ statement on shared public health approach to support restarting the economy, April 28, 2020). Two types of diagnostic devices are commonly used: 1) Lab-based devices and 2) Point of Care (PoC) devices, which are mobile solutions that can be used at homes, in doctors’ offices and long-term care homes. Only one nucleic acid-based PoC device is authorized by Health Canada to date.
While this device focuses on COVID‑19 diagnosis, there are still no mobile health-based (mHealth-based) tools that are inexpensive and can be used to collect real-time vital signs related to COVID-19. These signs are important for early assessment and monitoring of potential cases (people in self-isolation), false-negative cases (cases that test negative but require further monitoring), or groups at risks such as elderly people living in long-term care homes.
To support these important demands, our goal is to mobilize a simple, accessible and cost-effective PoC COVID‑19 self-assessment and monitoring system. This goal will be achieved by rapidly reconfiguring our existing mHealth-based PoC system, called NewPneu, which was designed to assist in pneumonia assessment in children. The reconfigured system will support more effective, efficient and real-time monitoring of people of all ages who test positive for COVID-19. The new system will also support triaging of potential cases of COVID‑19 that need hospital referral for further management and diagnosis (i.e., nucleic acid-based testing).