VACCINE PASSPORTS DUE TO LAUNCH IN ENGLAND FROM END OF SEPTEMBER
06 september | Covid-19
Major indoor venues in England will introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports by the end of September, according to UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Zahawi told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the use of passports would help to keep hospitality industries open in the coming months. He said it was the right time to start such a scheme as all over-18s will have been offered two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine at this stage.
Zahawi said: “When the evidence that you are presented is so clear cut and we want to make sure the industry doesn’t have to go through [an] open-shut, open-shut sort of strategy, then the right thing to do is to introduce that by the end of September when all over 18-year-olds have had their two jabs.”
The news comes days after Scotland confirmed it would require vaccine passports for entry to many large indoor and outdoor venues later in September. Wales is not expected to follow suit.
Vaccine passports have proven to be a controversial idea throughout the pandemic, with Zahawi himself describing the idea as “discriminatory” in February this year.
Leisure industry executives have warned that the passports could “cripple the industry” and create conflict between customers and staff. Meanwhile, some MPs have opposed the move on libertarian grounds and because they fear backlash from vaccine-hesitant people.
06 September | device development
RIKEN RESEARCHERS DEVELOP DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEM FOR ANTIBODIES MEASUREMENT
Researchers at Japan’s RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS) have developed a diagnostic system that is capable of measuring antibodies against the Covid-19 virus rapidly and sensitively.
Antibodies in the blood can give protection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The diagnostic system is expected to enable precise SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy testing at medical facilities.
Yoshihiro Ito at RIKEN CEMS led the new research. Along with colleagues, Ito has already developed a test kit for the diagnostic system using a microchip that contains more than 40 different allergens immobilised on it.
They have now expanded their diagnostic tools for use in a system that immobilises several key SARS-CoV-2 proteins. This allows the presence of virus antibodies to be detected automatically.
06 SEPTEMBER | testing
STUDY FINDS TASSO AT-HOME DEVICE BENEFICIAL FOR COVID-19 ANTIBODY TEST
Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, US, have reported that in a study the Tasso device to draw blood samples in the at-home setting was found to be useful for measuring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
Named Tasso-SST blood sampling kit, the device utilises a gentle vacuum to collect blood from capillaries under the skin in a few minutes.
To obtain a blood sample with the Tasso-SST blood sampling kit, a user has to clean an area on the upper arm and attach the device, which comes with an adhesive patch.
The user can then push a button on the device to release a small, spring-loaded lancet that pierces the skin.
According to the findings, the device could be used by patients to draw blood at home for various tests that presently require them to go to a clinic or laboratory, scientists noted.
06 SEPTEMBER | Approvals
GLAUKOS SUBMITS APPLICATION TO US FDA FOR ISTENT INFINITE DEVICE
Glaukos has submitted a supplemental premarket approval application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its iStent infinite Trabecular Micro-Bypass System.
The investigational iStent infinite device is similar to the company’s two-stent iStent inject W Trabecular Micro-Bypass System, which received FDA approval to reduce elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in adult mild-to-moderate primary open-angle glaucoma patients.
The iStent infinite can be used in a standalone procedure to minimise IOP in patients with open-angle glaucoma uncontrolled by prior surgical or medical therapy.
With three heparin-coated titanium stents preloaded into an auto-injection system, the device can be injected by the surgeon across a span of up to approximately six clock hours around the eye’s primary drainage channel known as Schlemm’s canal.
After they are injected, the stents will restore the natural, physiological outflow of aqueous humour by lowering IOP.
03 SEPTEMBER | deals
BAXTER TO ACQUIRE MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANY HILLROM FOR $10.5BN
Baxter International has signed a definitive agreement to acquire medical technology firm Hillrom for $156 per share in cash, or a total equity value of nearly $10.5bn.
The deal is valued at a total enterprise cost of nearly $12.4bn, which includes the assumption of debt.
Baxter noted that Hillrom has a product portfolio and innovation pipeline that complements its assets.
The agreement will facilitate the offering of an extensive range of medical products and services to patients and doctors globally as well as providing patient- and user-centred healthcare, with an aim to boost clinical outcomes.
The Baxter-Hillrom combination is anticipated to expedite the expansion of the companies into digital as well as connected care solutions, which are gradually aiding patients to access hospital-level care at home or in various other care settings.
Furthermore, the merged businesses will broaden access to Hillrom’s portfolio across the world and will offer financial returns for stakeholders of Baxter.
03 SEPTEMBER | diagnostics
UK EXPANDS FUNDING TO TRIAL IBEX’S AI-BASED PROSTATE CANCER DIAGNOSTIC
The UK Government has announced funding for six new National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England that will take part in the clinical trial assessing Ibex Medical Analytics’ artificial intelligence (AI) technology to quickly detect prostate cancer.
This is said to be the largest multi-site rollout of AI in the UK.
Approximately 100,000 men receive a prostate biopsy each year in the UK, and this number is estimated to increase two-fold over the next decade.
The new AI technology, named Galen Prostate, is designed to analyse biopsy images for the automatic and precise diagnosis of prostate cancer. It is intended to accelerate diagnoses and reduce diagnostic errors.
During the clinical trial, the AI analysis results will be compared with existing diagnosis approaches, where a pathologist accurately reviews biopsies.
Galen Prostate will be used to identify and grade cancer using prostate biopsies from samples of 600 men across 14 months.
ASENSUS SURGICAL GETS FDA CLEARANCE TO BOOST MACHINE VISION CAPABILITIES
Asensus Surgical has obtained 510(k) clearance from the US FDA to boost machine vision capabilities on its Intelligent Surgical Unit (ISU).
The ISU, which is already cleared, is used with Asensus’s Senhance Surgical System for digital laparoscopy.
THERMO FISHER AND ASTRAZENECA PARTNER TO CREATE ADVANCED COMPANION DIAGNOSTICS
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical sequencing unit and AstraZeneca are collaborating under a multi-year, global agreement to jointly create next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostics.
NCI RESEARCHERS DEVELOP BLOOD TEST TO DETECT CANCER EARLY IN NF1 PATIENTS
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Centre for Cancer Research and Washington University School of Medicine have developed a blood test that can enable the early detection of cancer in people with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).
PHILIPS TO BEGIN REPLACING DREAMSTATION RESPIRATORY DEVICES IN US
Royal Philips is set to commence the repair and replacement of DreamStation respiratory devices in the US in connection with its voluntary recall of breathing devices and ventilators in June.
ZYMO RESEARCH’S AT-HOME SAMPLE COLLECTION KITS OBTAIN CE MARK
Zymo Research has received a CE mark for its new line of at-home sample collection kits for sale in the European Union.
The SafeCollect Sample Collection Kits were created to ensure maximum user safety for the unsupervised self-collection of samples.
03 SEPTEMBER | deals
ABBOTT ACQUIRES WALK VASCULAR TO BOLSTER ENDOVASCULAR PRODUCT PORTFOLIO
Abbott has acquired a commercial-stage medical device company, Walk Vascular, for an undisclosed amount to expand its peripheral vascular offerings.
With the acquisition, Abbott gained rights to Walk Vascular’s less-invasive mechanical aspiration thrombectomy system for peripheral blood clot removal.
The JETi Peripheral Thrombectomy System and JETi AIO (All In One) Peripheral Thrombectomy System of Walk Vascular are aspiration systems used to remove intravascular clots known as thrombus.
These systems can disintegrate and remove clots from the peripheral vascular system, as well as decrease the risk of dislodged clots.
03 SEPTEMBER | deals
BOSTON SCIENTIFIC ACQUIRES SURGICAL BUSINESS OF LUMENIS FOR $1.07BN
Boston Scientific has concluded the acquisition of the international surgical business of Lumenis from a Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) affiliate following an upfront payment of $1.07bn.
In March, Boston Scientific signed a definitive agreement to acquire the surgical business.
Lumenis creates and markets energy-based medical solutions for less-invasive aesthetic and vision applications.
With the acquisition, Lumenis intends to focus on and expedite scheduled investments to back the development of its quickly expanding aesthetic and vision businesses.