AI-powered diagnostics startup MediCircle Health sees the future in new COVID-19 testing technology
AI-powered diagnostics company, MediCircle Health, is introducing SpectraLIT, an instant photo-spectrometry-based COVID-19 testing device, to the Indian market. Originally developed in Israel, SpectraLIT uses AI/ML technology to deliver results rapidly.
Upon seeing how the test worked and its easy-to-use technology, MediCircle Health went ahead and procured the India-specific rights to this device for the next few years, shares Rajit Shah, its co-founder. SpectraLIT not only identifies the virus but also the host’s response to the presence of the virus. The company claims that even if there is a change in the structure of the virus, SpeactraLIT will still be able to identify it.
“This can work with a gargle or a nasopharyngeal swab. The result literally comes back in seconds,” says Rajit.
According to Rajit, RT-PCR tests will always be the gold standard when it comes to COVID-19 testing, and no other test will be able to compete with its proficiency. However, MediCircle Health is trying to bring a test that is as accurate as the RT-PCR, and delivers results much quicker. “The result that comes out of SpectraLIT will literally take 15 seconds,” he says. It can be used in areas where there is a mass gathering and even for essential services where people cannot resort to working from home.
Rajit mentions that the test has CE-IVD certification from two European countries: Belgium and Spain. It is under process for TGA with US FDA and WHO EUL. It is also under process with ICMR for approval in India. To begin with, the company is doing commercial pilots to take the test to the masses, and will eventually observe how it progresses.
“We would preferably want to start with airports or any area that has a high footfall and where people can’t work from home,” says Rajit.
Rajit explains that MediCircle has also tied up with multiple service providers and NABL labs across India. To them, performing the test and keeping ICMR in the loop is of utmost importance. The test costs around Rs 500 and the idea, going forward, is to make it as cheaply available as possible so that everybody can make use of it.
He adds that MediCircle has been working to prevent COVID-19 for one-and-a-half years, and is completely self-funded. The time and money that they invested has been significant and they are “hoping that they will do good for the country more than anything else,” says Rajit.
He concludes by saying that in the case of a self-administered test, the accuracy of the results is dependent on whether the swab was collected correctly and in the perfect order. In the case of rapid antigen tests, the “data can be falsified,” he says. Whereas in the case of SpectraLIT, if the sample administered is incorrect, the result will be inconclusive so there is no space for doubt.