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DARPA Funds Study on Injectable Biosensors for Early Detection of Influenza Outbreaks

March 20th 2020

Test Tubes

Digital health company has announced the initiation of a DARPA-backed study that will use the company's minimally invasive injectable biosensor technology as a platform to potentially assist in the early detection of influenza outbreaks.

The study will examine how sensors monitoring physiological status - including Profusa'a Lumee Oxygen Platform , which measures tissue oxygen levels - provide potential indicators of human response to infection or exposure to disease in healthy volunteers. The goal of the study, says the company, is to develop an early identification system to detect not only disease outbreaks, but biological attacks and pandemics up to three weeks earlier than current methods.

"This research marks an exciting step forward in the development of game-changing preventive care," says Ben Hwang, chairman and CEO of Profusa. "The Lumee Oxygen Platform can potentially function as a sort of canary in a coal mine for infectious disease, since subtle changes in oxygen at the tissue level may signal trouble and can help clinicians course correct quickly to avoid outbreaks."

Changes in oxygen levels and other physiological measures, such as heart rate, as a result of a respiratory infection may assist researchers in the study to develop algorithms that can detect early, pre-symptomatic flu activity more quickly than what is currently possible, says the company.

"The potential significance of this new technology should not be underestimated, and Profusa is proud to be part of a joint effort funded by a DARPA, or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, award," says Sean Givens, head of government business for Profusa. "This is particularly exciting for Profusa as we look forward to leveraging learnings for future platform applications."

The company's Lumee Patch, a wireless reader that adheres to the skin and collects and reports tissue oxygen levels sensed by the Lumee Oxygen sensor to a mobile device for real-time data visualization, will be used in the clinical study. The study is part of a collaboration with RTI International, a nonprofit research institute developing algorithms for illness detection, and research centers including Duke University and Imperial College London.

The results of the study are anticipated to be available in 2021. The project is part of DARPA's SIGMA+ program in the Defense Sciences Office (DSO).

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