iSTOC in IFC TechEmerge Health East Africa Program

Published on: 30/06/2020

iSTOC in IFC TechEmerge Health East Africa Program

International Finance Corporation (IFC) TechEmerge Health Program brings custom heath care solutions to East Africa. iSTOC was chosen as one of the program partners that offer technologies that can support this region during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “one-stop shop integrated solution” developed by iSTOC for infectious diseases screening consists of low-cost lateral flow tests (LFTs), iSTOC Infectious Disease Reader (IDR) installed on a mobile device to capture data from rapid tests, and iSTOC Immediate Diagnostics and Analytics (IDA) Platform. The iSTOC solution enables outpatient treatments and disease screenings on large scale, also in rural areas.

iSTOC is also one of the 53 tech companies from 20 different countries that were chosen to attend the virtual TechEmerge Health East Africa Innovation Summit, which will be organized in autumn 2020. The selected innovators from around the world offer a range of solutions that can drive better healthcare outcomes in East Africa, including tools in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Point of Care Diagnostics, Maternal & Child Health, Patient Engagement, Quality Management, Operational Efficiency and beyond.

Current rapid diagnostics and diagnostics services are slow, inefficient and expensive. The lack of capability of digitizing, transferring and analyzing visible information is costly and generates human errors. Traditional diagnostics devices are suitable mostly for laboratories. iSTOC’s mobile diagnostic solution is economical and a low-cost solution that can eliminate capital expense in IT infrastructure. The solution is designed for mass efficient screening as it provides immediate diagnostics without costly hardware setups – only a smartphone is necessary. iSTOC will provide better healthcare in rural and poor areas in East Africa by improving access to high quality affordable healthcare. Through TechEmerge Heath Program iSTOC is currently discussing of co-operation with two different hospitals in Kenya.

International Finance Corporation IFC is a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group. IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, and works to create markets that open up opportunities for all. IFC has more than 60 years of experience in unlocking private investment, creating markets and opportunities where they’re needed most. The Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030: end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every country.

Covid-19 rapid test manufacturers due diligence | iSTOC News

Published on: 17/05/2020

How does iSTOC ensure the best quality and price?

iSTOC Mobile Diagnostics Solution is used together with lateral flow tests, that detect antibodies for infectious diseases quickly from a small drop of blood. There is great amount of different manufacturers of such rapid tests globally, and lately the public discussion related to rapid testing overall has been focused on the quality of these tests. In this post we describe the iSTOC process for selecting third party manufactures for our solution, and how we ended up choosing Chinese manufacturers for Covid-19 lateral flow tests.

iSTOC maintains the highest international quality standards (CE, US FDA; GDPR; HIPAA) and in order to do so, we have developed a unique three tier due diligence for all lateral flow tests that we consider for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing):

  1. Preparation: We review product development clinical tests documentation and production facilities to ensure correctness of CE, ISO, PEUA-FDA submissions which we see as minimum requirements.
  2. Independent Verification: We rely on independent laboratories and national regulatory authorities to confirm quality of all tests.
  3. Continuous PoC Due Diligence: Once tests are delivered and in use at Point of Care (PoC), we are in the unique position to continue quality control and can report to both users and manufacturers if there are any inconsistencies in the performance of the tests.

Using this policy puts us in the advantageous position to be able to select the absolute best price quality ratio for any given diagnosis. In our experience, it is not the difference in quality, but the difference in brand value that explains variations in prices. We know this from empirical field data collected over 8 years with millions of samples. iSTOC possesses the knowledge that allows us to offer our customers the best lateral flow tests at the most affordable prices.

With that, we know more about the actual performance of lateral flow tests outside of controlled trial and laboratory conditions than even the manufacturers of them do. We have concluded that our selection of Chinese manufacturers offer the best quality at the most affordable price, including for COVID-19. Furthermore, we are no alone with this conclusion, as also Abbott, the global leader in lateral flow tests, uses Chinese OEM manufacturing.

Cover picture by mattthewafflecat from Pixabay

Covid-19 | Will antibody testing be the key for the world to open up again? | iSTOC News

Published on: 12/05/2020

Will antibody testing be the key for the world to open up again?

The discussion related to coronavirus has for long been focused on the number of Covid-19 cases and the capacity of testing in hospitals and laboratories. Over the past few weeks however, the focus has moved to the possibilities of antibody tests, and weather they could provide a way to reopen countries, while keeping the public safe. The key for this to happen would be mass testing, and finding those who have already faced the disease, possibly without any symptoms, and now have antibodies in their blood. These employees could safely return to their workplaces, where as those who have not developed immunity to Covid-19, should still stay home and avoid social interaction with other people.

In some countries there is already discussions about official certificates of immunity, kind of immunity passports. Such document would be given to people who have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, and they would be free to get back to normal life. In fact in Chile a version of such document has already been taken in use. New York state recently completed antibody tests determining that approximately 14% of people in New York state and 20% of people in NYC tested positive for antibodies, so this really could be a huge step for world to start opening up again.

Antibody testing shows promising signs, but there are still a lot of open questions regarding testing and immunity. Concerns have been raced related to the accuracy of many antibody tests, and the capacity of test manufacturers – the volume needed for mass screening is huge. Furthermore, even once there will be a sufficient number of reliable tests available, it’s still unsure how effective the immunity to Covid-19 actually is and how long it will last.

How antibody testing actually works?

Antibody tests can determine who has ever been infected, and who may be immune to re-infection. This can be very helpful for guiding strategies for non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing measures. When someone gets infected with a virus, their immune system must work out how to fight it off and produce substances called antibodies. These are extremely specific and are usually only able to tackle one strain of one virus. For example, if someone has a Covid-19 infection, they will develop anti-Covid-19 antibodies. The body then stores versions of these antibodies in the immune system, so that if it comes into contact with that same virus again, it should be able to fight it off.

An antibody test looks for evidence of the body’s immune response to a virus, and thus points out persons that have had the disease. These tests are usually done from a small drop of blood. Depending on the timing and accuracy of the test, they can potentially also identify who is currently infected. Mass screening with antibody tests and data analysis can also help to build a more complete picture of epidemic course, attack rate, and fatality ratio. Furthermore, it is a tool for determining the full spectrum of the disease severity and the extent and permanency of immunity.

There are five kinds of antibodies, but two principal ones linked to immune response are of particular interest: Immunoglobulin M (IgM), which is the first antibody to appear and represents signs of recent infection, and Immunoglobulin G (IgG), which remains in the body after convalescence (recovery). The illustration below shows how this works – noting that the timings of antibody creation for Covid-19 are approximate and still subject to further research. In this discussion, it is important to note that a proportion of persons with Covid-19 infection clears the infection without showing any symptoms (asymptomatic) and some individuals take a few days before they show symptoms (pre-symptomatic).

Covid-19 | Will antibody testing be the key for the world to open up again? | iSTOC News

To screen large populations for Covid-19 antibodies, cost-efficient rapid testing is the key. Results of these tests are available in minutes, where as laboratory results often require several days of waiting. An IgM-IgG Covid-19 test compared to other tests, is more convenient with low cost and can be performed in point of care, that could be in field, diagnostics kiosks, mobile diagnostics labs, bedside at hospitals or in clinics and laboratories. iSTOC Mobile Diagnostics Solutions improves the testing process and data collecting, and also ensures the quality of testing. It is a fully digitized and automated system that identifies the patient and the test environment, and all data points are digitally recorded. Delivery of the results is human-error free, the diagnosis is fast and accurate, and the result reports are available in real time.

Cover picture: by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Kauppalehti: Oulusta sovellus koronatestaamiseen | iSTOC News

Published on: 21/04/2020

Business Newspaper Kauppalehti introduced iSTOC solution

Finnish Business Newspaper Kauppalehti wrote about iSTOC mobile diagnostics solution as a tool for analyzing covid-19 rapid test results. Mobile application and diagnostics platform developed by iSTOC can be used for reading and digitizing test results, as well as for analyzing the spread of the virus in real time.

CEO Jarmo Järvenpää states in the article that mobile diagnostics solution can be used together with rapid test from different manufacturers, as iSTOC cooperates with all the biggest manufacturers who have covid-19 tests in their portfolio. Tests are integrated in the diagnostics platform, and the quality of the tests is verified.

According to Järvenpää, with mass screening it’s possible to find out how big part of certain population has already unknowingly suffered from covid-19. Mass screening with rapid tests is cost-efficient, and the results are available in minutes instead of waiting for laboratory results for days. Järvenpää says that mass screening could be piloted in Finland for example in city of Oulu, with population around 200 000 people. For now iSTOC diagnostics solution has been marketed mostly to third world countries with large population, where it’s not possible to perform laborious laboratory-based testing. However, iSTOC is ready to deliver diagnostics platform and rapid tests also to health organizations in western countries.

The whole article can be read in Finnish in Kauppalehti print magazine published on April 21st, and the facsimiled copy of the magazine on their web pages.

Cover picture of Jarmo Järvenpää by Kai Tirkkonen, Kauppalehti

Kauppalehti: Oulusta sovellus koronatestaamiseen | iSTOC News

Published on: 21/04/2020

Kauppalehti: Oulusta tulee sovellus koronatestaamiseen

Kauppalehti uutisoi 21.4. iSTOCin kehittämästä mobiilidiagnostiikkaratkaisusta koronaviruksen testaamiseen ja tulosten analysointiin. Älypuhelinsovellusta ja diagnostiikkajärjestelmää käytetään sormenpäästä otettavasta veripisarasta tehtävien pikatestien tuloksen lukemiseen ja tallentamiseen, sekä datan tilastoinnin myötä myös viruksen leviämisen reaaliaikaiseen kartoittamiseen.

Toimitusjohtaja Jarmo Järvenpää kertoo, että älypuhelinratkaisu soveltuu kaikkien suurimpien pikatestivalmistajien tuotteisiin, joilla on myynnissä myös koronapikatesti. iSTOC toimii markkinoilla yhteistyössä näiden sopimusvalmistajien kanssa. Testit integroidaan järjestelmään ja samalla varmennetaan niiden laatu.

Järvenpää visioi artikkelissa myös laajan pikatestauksen pilotoimista esimerkiksi Oulun kaupungin kokoiselle, noin 200 000 ihmisen väestölle. ”Laajaa pikatestausta tarvittaisiin epidemian kakkosvaiheessa, kun aletaan purkaa liikkumisrajoituksia Suomessa. Pitäisi tietää, kuinka moni väestöstä on jo sairastanut tietämättään covid-19 taudin. Siihen ei tarvita raskasta ja kallista koronatestausta, jonka laboratoriotuloksia pitää odottaa useita päiviä.”

Artikkeli on ilmestynyt kauppalehdessä 21.4. ja on luettavissa myös näköislehdessä.

Kuva: Kai Tirkkonen / Kauppalehti

Published on: 06/04/2020

iSTOC COVID-19 Mobile Diagnostics Solution helps fight coronavirus

The quick, global spread of COVID-19 has caused an urgent need for simple and fast tests for screening large populations and for identifying also asymptomatic infected people. Governments around the world are looking for alternatives to ease the burden on state-owned health systems. Finnish healthcare technology company iSTOC specializes in immediate diagnostics and analytics, and has launched rapid tests that can detect antibodies for different infectious diseases from a small drop of blood, and a mobile diagnostics solution for analyzing the test results and for geographical mapping of the spread of infectious diseases.

The diagnostics solution developed by iSTOC has been in use for several years already, mostly in third world countries like Pakistan, where a large number of people have been tested for, among other things, hepatitis and tuberculosis, as well as HIV infections. With the information gathered from the testing, the healthcare authorities have been able to effectively prevent the spread of these diseases. Now this same technology is in use for testing and mapping the spread of coronavirus. Inexpensive rapid tests can detect and analyze also asymptomatic infections that are typically not included in traditional testing and thus not visible in the statistics.

“Until two months ago, the demand for our services came mostly from Asia, Africa and South America, from countries that are struggling with low resources in healthcare and have immediate need for new, more effective solutions. Now that coronavirus has reached western countries, governments and healthcare authorities have realized the need of comprehensive, reliable information about the spread of the virus and the different chains of the infection.” states Jarmo Järvenpää, CEO of iSTOC.

iSTOC Mobile Diagnostics Solution significantly improves coronavirus testing process and data collecting, and also ensures the quality of testing. It is a fully digitized and automated system that identifies the patient and the test environment, and all data points are digitally recorded. Rapid diagnostic tests can be performed with low cost in point of care, for example in diagnostics kiosks, mobile diagnostics labs, bedside at hospitals, clinics and laboratories. Test results are scanned with a smartphone and digitized, and reliable results are ready in minutes, which means that further examination and treatment can be started immediately. Delivery of the results is human-error free, the diagnosis is fast and accurate, and the result reports are available in real time. To support the health care personnel performing the tests, iSTOC offers guidance for using the mobile application.

Already one million rapid test kits for coronavirus have been delivered, and iSTOC diagnostics solution is in use for testing and mapping COVID-19. As test results are digitized and available in real time, tests can be analyzed remotely. Performing a rapid test doesn’t necessarily require a healthcare professional, which means that in the future it could be possible for consumers to perform a test for themselves at home, and based on the test result analysis, a person could prove being healthy or immune to the disease.

iSTOC is a Finnish company specialized in healthcare technology and Immediate Diagnostics and Analytics (IDA). The company was founded in 2012 by a group of Nokia professionals with extensive experience in mobile technologies and development of cloud based health services and applications. iSTOC is a global player in mobile point of care (POC) diagnostics by transforming stagnant and disconnected data into relevant and actionable information. By integrating mobile technologies with smart services, iSTOC has deployed and is deploying POC services to both consumers and professional users. iSTOC enables faster, easier, more accurate and less costly diagnostics.

Published on: 06/04/2020

Patentoitu menetelmä koronavirustestauksen digitalisointiin ja seurantaan

Oululaislähtöinen iSTOC on tuonut markkinoille pikatestejä, joilla esimerkiksi sormenpäästä otetusta verinäytteestä pystytään havaitsemaan elimistön muodostamat vasta-aineet erilaisille tartuntataudeille, ja kehittänyt diagnostiikkajärjestelmän tulosten analysoimiseen. Vasta-ainetestauksella voidaan todeta akuutin taudin lisäksi myös jo sairastettu tauti, ja siten kattavasti kartoittaa paitsi tartuntojen määrää, muun muassa tautien maantieteellistä leviämistä ja tartuntaketjuja.

Vallankumouksellista diagnostiikkaratkaisussa on se, että pikatestin tulos luetaan älypuhelimella, yksilöiden sekä testattava henkilö että testiympäristö. Testi voidaan tarvittaessa toteuttaa ilman fyysistä kontaktia hoitohenkilökunnan ja testattavan välillä, kuten diabetes- ja raskaustestit, ja koska luotettava testitulos saadaan minuuteissa, voidaan henkilökohtaisen hoitosuunnitelman mukaiset jatkotutkimukset ja hoito aloittaa välittömästi. Järjestelmä myös huomauttaa reaaliaikaisesti testauksen mahdollista epäkohdista, kuten vanhentuneesta tai epäkelvosta pikatestistä.

Yrityksen kehittämä järjestelmä on ollut jo usean vuoden käytössä lähinnä kehittyvissä maissa, kuten Pakistanissa, joissa on pystytty nopeasti testaamaan isosta ihmismäärästä muun muassa hepatiittia ja tuberkuloosia sekä HIV-tartuntoja. Testauksesta saatavilla tiedoilla terveysviranomainen on pystynyt tehokkaasti estämään tautien leviämistä. Nyt teknologiaa hyödynnetään koronaviruksen testaamisessa ja levinneisyyden kartoittamisessa. Edullisten pikatestien avulla voidaan todeta ja analysoida myös oireettomat tartunnat, jotka perinteisessä testaamisessa jäävät tilastojen ulkopuolelle.

”Vielä kaksi kuukautta sitten kysyntä ja tarve meidän palvelulle tuli lähinnä Aasian, Afrikan ja Etelä-Amerikan maista, joissa terveydenhuoltoa on vähäisempien resurssien vuoksi ollut pakko tehostaa uusilla ratkaisuilla. Nyt kun koronavirus on meidän omalla takapihalla, länsimaiden hallitukset ja terveysviranomaiset ovat heränneet tarpeeseen saada riittävästi tietoa koronaviruksen leviämisestä ja tartuntaketjuista”, kertoo iSTOCin toimitusjohtaja Jarmo Järvenpää.

iSTOC:n kokonaispalvelun avulla tehostetaan testausprosessia ja tiedonkeruuta, ja sen avulla myös poistetaan inhimillisiä virheitä ja varmistetaan testauksen laatu. Jokainen testitulos kuvataan ja digitalisoidaan yrityksen kehittämällä helppokäyttöisellä mobiilisovelluksella, ja se on välittömästi analysoitavissa. Järjestelmästä saatavan datan avulla voidaan seurata tartuntojen kulkua ja epidemian laajuutta. iSTOC tarjoaa testauksia suorittavan hoitohenkilökunnan tueksi myös opastuksen mobiilisovelluksen käyttämiseen.

iSTOCin kautta on toimitettu jo miljoona testipakkausta koronaviruksen testaukseen, ja diagnostiikkajärjestelmä on otettu käyttöön. Koska testitulokset digitalisoidaan reaaliaikaisesti, tulos voidaan analysoida etänä, jolloin itse testin tekemiseen ei välttämättä tarvita terveydenhoitohenkilökuntaa. Tulevaisuudessa pikatestin voisi siis tehdä myös itse kotona, ja tuloksen perusteella henkilö voisi todistaa olevansa terve tai immuuni taudille.

iSTOC on 2012 perustettu oululainen terveysteknologiaan ja mobiilidiagnostiikkaan keskittynyt yritys. Se on kehittänyt nykyistä patentoitua testausdiagnostiikkajärjestelmäänsä yhdessä alan merkittävien kansainvälisten toimijoiden kanssa. iSTOC on maailmanlaajuisesti johtava toimija tartuntatautien mobiilidiagnostiikassa ja analysoinnissa, ja yrityksen kehittämä diagnostiikkajärjestelmä on saavuttanut sekä Yhdysvaltain että Euroopan terveysviranomaisten hyväksynnän.

Jarmo Järvenpää, toimitusjohtaja
Tapio Siik, hallituksen jäsen

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