Scanning Blood for Coronavirus for Possible Mass Screening

Israel Aerospace Industries is working with Group 42 of Abu-Dhabi to research and develop a medical system that can scan the blood of people from above the skin and notify in seconds whether the disease has been detected, allowing for mass screening.

IAI said in its statement that its Elta group held a video conference with the UAE to sign the agreement, adding that “representatives of both companies discussed ways to leverage Artificial Intelligence and other innovative technologies, including lasers and sensors, to develop new COVID-19-focused systems. The solutions, as well as the joint medical and technological initiatives, are meant to help not only the populations of both countries, but also aid in the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and improve the health-care situation of the entire region.”

Written by Brian Wang,

22 thoughts on “Scanning Blood for Coronavirus for Possible Mass Screening”

  1. The thing we have no defense against us is a new contagion for which we have no antibodies. Like a “nice Coronavirus” of some kind. That’s why the current detection methods are inadequate. Why wait until someone is sick enough to think “i better get a test” that the doctor is probably gonna skip cuz the symptoms present as a cold before you realize you have a potential pandemic on your hands? Time for us to be less reactive and more proactive. Surely there’s a military use for this, so there’s funding available…

  2. An antibody test only requires a drop of blood and takes about 5 minutes. What it tells you is that you have previously been exposed to something and your body has developed antibodies. The test for the virus consists of a long “Qtip” stuck all the way up your nose. Processing it takes about 15 minutes. It tells you if you currently have the actual virus. I’ve had both tests. The first time around I was positive for the antigen and negative for the virus. The only time I recall being sick in any way was a couple weeks after returning from Asia in December. If that wasn’t it, I was asymptomatic. The second time around was a couple weeks ago when my son got sent home for “quarantine” from work at Starbucks because he had a 99 degree temp. Both he and I got a virus test. Both positive. I am completely asymptomatic, and my son had a slight fever for two days but otherwise is asymptomatic. I work from home anyway these days, so I’ll test again in a few weeks to make sure I cleared it. That said, either the tests are inaccurate, or the virus just isn’t a big deal for most people. If you have comorbidities or a compromised immune system, definitely take care. If not, wear a mask in public if you think you are sick (masks offer some limited protection of others from you, not you from them). Other than that, the flu is worse. Carry on.

  3. Air filtration, capture stuff, then analyze it. At least that approach makes some sense. Then there’s the whole problem of making it cheap, accurate, and ubiquitous. We got a ways to.

  4. Lots of good points. Deep dives into your personal medical data is in the works, along with the opportunity to volunteer your personal tracking device data. Many companies working in this area.
    IRT doctor’s incuriosity – I recall few years ago when I went in for a sore throat and the doctor said, I can send you down to the lab for a strep test; but it won’t change the treatment. So if all they can do is treat the symptoms; why bother with the tests to determine the root cause. I think the increased interest in anti-viral treatments will change that attitude. But I’ve been wrong before.
    IRT to the device in the article. I agree that the technology sounds speculative. I’m very impressed by the participants. There’s been a political sea change in the Middle East that opened an opportunity for this partnership.

  5. I think that, at some point, we’re just going to have to have devices all over the place that filter viral particles out of the air, gene sequence them, and report the results, flagging any novel sequences for special attention. And maybe scanners in bathrooms you can spit or whatever into if you’re not feeling well.

    As I’ve said before, the way medicine approaches contagious disease right now is analogous to only checking the wind speed if you spot a tornado, only deploying the seismographs if buildings start falling over. They need to get more proactive and data intense, just adopt a policy of identifying and sequencing every last infection that comes to medical attention, so that monitoring infectious agents becomes more like weather forecasting, and nothing can sneak up on us.

    Right now, if you get sick, until you’re at deaths door, they just guess at whether it’s viral or bacterial, and if they think the latter, give you whatever antibiotic is popular at the moment, and tell you to come back if it doesn’t work. The doctors I encounter seem insanely incurious about what you’re infected with, unless it looks like you’re about to die.

    As for the OP, while I wouldn’t go so far as to say the proposed device is impossible, it seems VERY speculative, rather a blue sky proposal. Remotely distinguishing pathogens at low concentrations in live tissue? Man, it’s going to be hard to get above the noise on that, even if you do have a signal that is specific to the virus

  6. Yeah, but a laser remote testing can be incorporated into a hellfire equipped drone that seeks out and destroys the threat.

  7. That seems to be what the organizations that are the subject of this article want to develop. It isn’t clear to me, even after reading the article this one links to, whether they have an idea about the physical principles that would be used in such a device, or they are just dreaming.

  8. It will be when we develop a reliable enough sensors only on the spot, zero cost, no disposal test system that we will finally control this pandemic, and many other similar epidemics in the future. It will be more effective than vaccination once it reaches a mass where most infected are identified quickly when people are about to congregate in halls, transportation systems, schools, crowded work places, etc. so infection rate goes below one.

  9. Meh, a test for uniquely identifying a virus with lasers and Machine Learning sounds like word salad on a marketeering slide. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. How do you get through all the noise noninvasive in situ? How do the “lasers” image and identify viral particles, then identify them accurately? Are these gamma spectrum lasers to get the resolution?

    Here’s a tip. Victims of COVID shed the virus via a respiratory path; a breath test would probably be a lot more accurate and we have lots of experience with them.

  10. is around 0.26% based on antibody test results. If you factor in T Cell immunity then the actual IFR is probably half that.

  11. An antibody test does not detect currently-active disease. Also, results in seconds vs. minutes would make it much more practical for scanning people on their way into an event, such as a sports stadium, movie theater, etc. It probably would be more practical than a saliva test, too. Of course, it seems they don’t actually have anything now — this is only about research and development, so even if they are successful, we won’t have anything we could use for a considerable time.

  12. Why? An antibody requires a pin prick. Results in minutes.
    There is suppose to be a saliva test that is fast and reliable. Don’t know when it will be ready for market.
    The problem with testing is the labs don’t want to spend the money to ramp up when most of the equipment will go to waste after the vaccine.

Comments are closed.