This Kolkata-based medtech startup is building affordable, non-invasive solutions for early diagnosis of chronic diseases
Anaemia – a condition where a person does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues – along with lung and liver-related health problems are three major public healthcare concerns in India.
While these health problems can be avoided by adopting a preventive healthcare approach, high costs, a relatively tedious testing process, and need for skilled manpower prevent its rapid adoption in India, where people naturally choose to opt instead for curative healthcare solutions.
Kolkata-based healthcare startup EzeRX Healthcare wants to change that.
As the name suggests, EzeRX – which stands for ‘Easy for prescription’ – is on a mission to make the adoption of preventive healthcare approach more appealing and accessible for Indians by providing easy, affordable, diagnostic solutions, says Founder and CEO Partha Pratim.
“Nearly 75 percent of our population is from rural India and they believe in curative healthcare approach instead of preventative. And that's a big problem. So, the idea is to identify the primary health parameters in very early stage, so we can easily detect liver problems, lungs problems, or even nutrition problems like anaemia, so that patients can then go in for a complete cure. That's the idea,” says EzeRX Founder Partha Pratim.
This idea, Partha says, has given rise to the medtech startup’s very first invention: a non-invasive, non-contact, IoT-enabled portable diagnostic device called AJO – short for anaemia, jaundice, and oxygen saturation – that tests for anaemia, liver and lung-related healthcare problems.
Still, this is just the start for EzeRX, Partha tells YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma in this interaction, where he reveals his plans for his next version of the product and its work with diagnosis of oral cancer.
A painless, needle-less testing experience
Unlike existing solutions in the market, AJO ensures a painless testing process as it measures the spectroscopic signal emitting from the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white of the eye. In other words, not a single drop of blood is drawn for the test.
“The test is conducted without taking a single drop of blood from the human body, so, it's a painless and infection-free process. Also, this device can be operated by unskilled or semi-skilled manpower,” Partha adds.
EzeRX’s solution is also affordable, costing less than Re 1 for the test; is non-contact and non-invasive, removing the chance of infections; and is IoT-enabled, allowing the data to be transferred anywhere by email or text message after the completion of the test, which usually takes 0.5 seconds to 1.5 seconds.
Haemoglobin, bilirubin, and oxygen saturation are the three parameters used for the test.
Each of these is used to detect a particular healthcare problem: haemoglobin to detect anaemia; bilirubin to study the liver function and detect liver-related healthcare problems like jaundice, hepatitis, and alcoholic fatty liver, among others; oxygen saturation to study the function of the lungs and detect problems like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and even brain hypoxia.
“This device can scan these three parameters within a second and the cost of this test is less than one rupee. So, if we can take only 25 paise per test, then we will break even within three years,” says Partha.
EzeRX, a recipient of the Department of Biotechnology’s BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant, completed the clinical trial for the AJO device in NRS Medical College in Kolkata with “high accuracy and without any complaints,” adds Partha.
“The accuracy and the sensitivity of the device are not dependent on the skin colour, location and religion of the person. The high accuracy depends on the availability of the conjunctiva and its high visibility ensures its high accuracy and sensitivity."
Founded in 2018, EzeRX, an incubatee at KIIT-TBI, has also received funding from Villgro's INVENT and energy major Indian Oil Corporation.