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OPKO Point-of-Care Technology Demonstrated on Mobile Device with Cloud Connectivity to Diagnose and Track Disease in Africa

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 8:16am
The Associated Press

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 1, 2013--OPKO Health, Inc. (NYSE: OPK) announced that a study published online in Clinical Chemistry, and to be included in the April 2013 print issue, describes the application of OPKO’s point-of-care system to mobile diagnostics, a major advance towards providing people in resource poor settings with laboratory-quality diagnostic services and directly integrating results with cloud-based patient records.

In collaboration with OPKO, Samuel Sia, associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia Engineering and cofounder of Claros Diagnostics (now OPKO Diagnostics), has demonstrated that their lab-on-a-chip technology can be used not only to check a patient’s infectious disease status anywhere in the world with just a finger prick, but also synchronize the results automatically and instantaneously with central health-care records. The device was field-tested in Rwanda by a collaborative team from Professor Sia’s lab and ICAP at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

According to Professor Sia, “We’ve built a handheld mobile device that can perform laboratory-quality testing in minutes on a finger stick drop of whole blood, and automatically synchronize the test results with patient health records across the globe using both cell phone and satellite networks.” The core function of assay operation and real-time synchronization of diagnostic results with patient records in the cloud have all been incorporated onto a handheld mobile device and all powered by a battery.

Working with OPKO, ICAP, and the Ministry of Health, a local hospital, and two health clinics in Rwanda, Professor Sia and his team assessed the device's ability to perform HIV testing and then synchronized results in real time with the patients’ electronic health records. They successfully tested serum, plasma, and whole blood samples, all of which were collected in Rwanda. Their research was funded by a $2-million Saving Lives at Birth transition grant (United States Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank).

"This work not only demonstrates that the OPKO point-of-care technology could be implemented anywhere in the world," said Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and CEO of OPKO Health, "it also provides a glimpse into the potential of mobile health by integrating seamlessly and in real time with patient medical records.” Clinical Chemistry has also published an editorial reviewing this work by George Whitesides, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, the most cited author in the fields of chemistry and in microfluidics. According to the editorial, entitled “A glimpse into the Future of Diagnostics” the work “represents on brick in what will surely be the foundation of a revolution that will fundamentally change the technical and business structure of diagnostics.” About OPKO Health, Inc. We are a multi-national biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large and rapidly growing medical markets by leveraging our discovery, development and commercialization expertise and our novel and proprietary technologies.

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