- Fast, accurate, and large-scale testing is needed to make tangible progress against COVID-19
- New joint venture will adapt the existing Fionet platform, already used worldwide for other pandemics, for use in detecting COVID-19
- Hand-held testing devices, cloud storage and an online portal allow all levels of the medical field to work together
COVID-19 presents our global medical infrastructure with an unprecedented challenge. In order to manage this new threat to public health, we don’t just need fast, accurate, and accessible testing—the results of that testing need to be shared right away, with public health authorities as well as healthcare providers, pharmacies, workplaces, pharmacies, schools, airports and home.
If leveraged properly, cutting-edge medical technology for testing, data collection and reporting can be the tool we need to arrest and reverse the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the human and economic costs of the ongoing pandemic.
One exciting new solution is Fionet, Fio Corporation’s data-and-device platform that is the subject of a new joint venture between Fio and Relay Medical Corp. (CSE: RELA | OTCQB: RYMDF), a Toronto-based company focused on innovation and development in diagnostics, AI, and data science.
Together with Fio, the two firms are pivoting the Fionet Platform into Fionet Rapid Response Group, tailoring the technology to COVID-19 and enabling mass-distributed testing, data collection, tracking, and reporting. The technology can rapidly adapt to new tests and manufacturers as they come into market, which allows users to switch from test to test depending on their supply and advancements in testing protocols.
“The system architecture not only allows for the adaption to different test manufacturers but also for future rapid adaptability when other tests, or diseases, or triage protocols come into the market which offers significant value to current and future clients,” says Yoav Raiter, CEO of Relay Medical.
The Fionet Platform is well-proven on one million patients with infectious diseases in over a dozen countries and four continents. Fio has also successfully managed testing programs for high-consequence diseases such as malaria, HIV, dengue and ebola in partnership with world-class organizations including the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the Ministry of Health of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Kenya Ministry of Health.
“Community-based testing and real-time tracking is indispensable for combating pandemics like COVID-19. Fionet has already made this happen in the most challenging epidemic regions on the planet and we are now preparing for imminent deployment of our platform with several partners to combat COVID-19 at home and abroad.”
— Dr. Michael Greenberg, CEO, Fionet Rapid Response Group.
Secure, reliable, and versatile, the system comprises three parts: The Fionet Mobile Device (“Deki”), the Fionet Cloud, and the Fionet Online Portal. First, the Fionet Deki immediately quality-controls and interprets Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and shares the resulting geotagged data in real time with the Fionet Cloud, a secure, encrypted storage server for private health information. The Fionet Cloud is accessed via the Fionet Online Portal, where healthcare providers can examine testing results and public health officials can undertake high-level epidemiological planning with anonymized, real-time data.
The Fio technology holds the potential to enable reliable data to be shared by patients with third parties to enhance the safety of schools, workplaces, modes of transportation and other public venues.
“Fionet enables everyday healthcare workers to deliver expert-level testing at frontline health posts,” explains Dr. Greenberg, CEO of Fio Corporation. “Together and right now, we have an opportunity to enable the large-scale community-based testing, triage, and tracking that is indispensable for a safe return to social and economic life worldwide.”
He adds, “Fionet has already made this happen in the most challenging epidemic regions on the planet and we are now preparing for imminent deployment of our platform with several partners to combat COVID-19 at home and abroad.”
But despite this technology’s promise and power, scaling it to tackle a problem as enormous as COVID-19 is no easy feat. It will take the combined expertise and resources of both Fio and Relay Medical to create the infrastructure needed to customize Fionet for COVID-19 testing, triage, and tracking, including the capability to connect with approved third-party rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and other tests, such as molecular ones.
Some of Relay’s signature technologies, such as machine vision, artificial intelligence and cloud processing, will also be integral to this new, expanded version of the Fionet Platform. By working together, the new joint venture will accelerate adoption and delivery of Fionet Rapid Response Group and jump-start its use by public health agencies, retail health providers and private sector companies in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa, and the rest of the world.
Stemming from this, at the end of August, Relay and Fio announced the signing of U.S. and French distribution partners for the Fionet Mobile COVID-19 testing and tracking platform.
In the U.S., Fionet will be distributed by MyLabBox, a company which is a leader of at-home and in-store testing solutions, and in France, Fionet will be distributed by Magentine, a company set up to distribute Fionet and RDTs.
The company is now in the process of organizing several deployments in the international marketplace to roll out its system for testing and tracking COVID.
“To get people back to work, to get them bringing home paycheques again, to protect the economy, the question is not who is sick. It is who is well and how can they return safely to work,” explains Dr. Greenberg.
“Pharmacies are an ideal site for mass community-based testing, so that personnel can be tested and feel secure that everyone else in their workplace was also tested.”
COVID-19 may be a mighty opponent, but considering the last decade’s advances in medical technology, it’s not an invincible one. Widespread adoption of data-driven solutions like Fionet mean all levels of the medical sector, from front-line workers to policy analysts and other stakeholders, are on the same page and working together against this common enemy.
Raiter is optimistic about the platform’s potential. “The Fio Platform produces quick and accurate results that allow health professionals to make data-driven decisions, both at the point of care and policy levels.”
“If we can stop the chain of COVID-19 infections, we can get as close back to normal life as possible and that can be achieved through mass deployment of COVID-19 rapid diagnostic testing.”
The race to implement accelerated testing is on, coupled with the need to decrease wait times. The urgency to accomplish this is imperative, which is why news coming out from Abbott Laboratories, regarding its production of 50 million rapid COVID tests, comes as a major boost to the healthcare community.
The U.S. government is purchasing 150 million tests that were recently cleared after the company was granted an emergency authorization. The tests do not require any laboratory equipment, which is why they could help ease delays for people waiting to receive their results.
Relay Medical is eager to enhance the testing already being done and looks forward to the results its Fionet Mobile COVID-19 Testing and Tracking Platform will bring to the public.
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