COVID-19 News

BARDA partners with 98point6 to adapt platform for COVID-19 screening, reporting

What if we could identify COVID-19 hot spots using technology that’s accessible to anyone? The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is working with Seattle-based 98point6 and its primary care telemedicine platform to develop a program that records de-identified, suspected COVID-19 cases, and uses this information to better understand disease transmission, potential hot spots, incidence of COVID-19 cases among different population groups, and self-reported vaccination status.

BARDA has worked with 98point6’s primary care telemedicine platform, initially developed as a data analytics tool for treating and reporting influenza, to expand screening and reporting of COVID-19. This tool combines the company's on-demand, text-based telemedicine services with automated COVID-19 screening via a questionnaire for patients experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms. 98point6 then creates daily and weekly reports of respiratory illness activity by ZIP code locations, which helps to identify near real-time hot spots as they are developing. Suspected COVID-19 patients then are directed to testing locations for confirmatory diagnostic testing.

By combining early and rapid healthcare provider assessments with diagnostic antigen and viral testing for SARS-CoV-2, 98point6 can provide early indications of regional COVID-19 diagnosis rates.

“During a pandemic, remotely providing early and actionable health information to patients, healthcare providers, emergency responders, and local public health organizations is critical to inform the health response. This is also true for anyone living in rural and remote areas,” said Dr. Sandeep Patel, director, BARDA Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe). “This partnership with 98point6 can fill that need, and achieve DRIVe’s goal to develop data analytics approaches to speed our public health response for emergencies. 98point6 can apply machine learning approaches that hospitals, pharmacies, testing sites, and even health departments could utilize to simplify and inform important decisions.”

The collaboration is part of BARDA Ventures, a new public-private partnership that brings together the venture capital community with the U.S. government, leveraging authorities provided in the 21st Century Cures Act. BARDA Ventures, as part of the DRIVe portfolio, will address gaps in preparedness and areas within the continuum of response that require innovative and entrepreneurial approaches not otherwise considered under traditional medical countermeasure development.

Read more: https://www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/barda/advancing-innovation#spotlight (advance the carousel to February 2021)