There is growing international interest in a new invention developed by Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Catharina Hospital in the Netherlands. It concerns the so-called CoLab score that can serve as an alternative to a PCR rapid test when screening patients for Covid-19.
The CoLab score is calculated based on how the coronavirus causes changes in the blood. It was devised by Ruben Deneer of TU/e and clinical chemist Arjen-Kars Boer of Catharina Hospital (read our earlier story about this here).
Boer: “At the height of the corona surge last year, we were asked if there wasn’t a faster test that could rule out COVID-19. In an emergency room (ED), it is important to know as soon as possible whether a patient is corona positive or not. To do this, we started looking at the information that we already had. Patients who come into the emergency room have their blood taken as standard – the so-called quick scan. Their blood is tested for 30 different values. We wondered whether subtle changes were also present in the blood that are characteristic of Covid-19. ‘Could we find some kind of instantly recognizable bar code? And yes, as it turns out, we could.”
Together with the company Gaston Medical, they are now working diligently on preparing the CoLab score for the European market. Deneer: “That’s quite a challenge, because every hospital carries out different types of tests in the emergency room. But we are now going to make that part ‘smarter’ so that hospitals can adopt it faster.”
Furthermore, a grant of 150,000 euros from the European Union will be used to further improve the sensitivity of the CoLab score. The grant is from the COVID-X program which aims to defeat COVID-19 with the use of data solutions.
COVID-X is funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 program. A total of 112 applications were submitted. Only 15 were honored, including one from the Netherlands. The COVID-X program aims to make data solutions ready for the European market within nine months.
Read other articles about corona here in our COVID-19 dossier.