Spectrus creates technology to connect doctors and patients in Peru, where CSO Dr. Enrique Arevalo grew up and is now making a positive impact.
In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, biotech companies both small and large are innovating in ways to manage the detection and treatment of this disease. NSIV member company Spectrus is actively engaged in both aspects.
On the treatment side – Spectrus is involved in a grassroots program to provide telemedicine to patients in Peru. While the northern hemisphere infectious rates appear to be declining, rates of disease transmission in portions of Central and South America are on the rise. To manage patient care in the vast rural areas of central Peru, doctors have resorted to reaching patients by phone where possible. In fact, there are plenty of doctors eager to help thanks to their membership in the Peruvian American Society of Medicine (PAMS).
The technical gap in serving rural Peruvians is connecting COVID-19 patients with doctors in a way that prioritizes critical cases and makes the best use of doctors’ donated time. Spectrus staff, led by CSO Dr. Enrique Arevalo and president Dr. Michael Ziebell, are filling this gap by facilitating the connection between doctors and patients through an online portal. The portal allows patients to securely provide their medical history and symptoms to caregivers, upon which an appointment is scheduled based on each patient’s priority level. So far, greater than 300 patients have been helped using this system. This technology could be used in other parts of the world as telemedicine becomes a standard of patient care. As Enrique says “[This is important to me] because we’re saving human lives. We started because we can impact the community where we grew up.”
Regarding detection, Spectrus has the in-house expertise and instrumentation to expand testing that can be used to detect viral particles in patients. Enrique noted the absence of reproducible post-infection measurements that can be used to predict contagion. Using sensitivity conferred by mass spectrometry, Spectrus scientists embarked on a research program to measure viral proteins in patient samples. Should these experiments demonstrate the ability to detect the virus at levels known to correlate to infection – this test could augment existing RNA-based tests as well as the serological antibody detection tests.
Spectrus maintains the conviction that each of us should do what is within our power to help communities through this pandemic. Scientists can contribute by performing research in the lab and by creating technology to facilitate the connection between patients and caregivers in our communities.