A team of scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas developed a wearable sensor that can monitor the human body’s immune response to COVID-19 and other infections via the detection of molecules in human sweat.
Published in Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, apparently, the detection apparatus can measure a response with extreme accuracy, while also identifying who was ill with COVID-19. Imagine the potential. During most health crises, including this pandemic, physicians typically need to access biological samples such as urine, blood, or tissue to offer insight into the health of a patient. What if all that was needed was a sample of sweat?
What’s next for this life science technology breakthrough out of the University of Texas at Dallas? The research team is gearing up for clinical trials and hoping to commence a study in the upcoming year. The authors suggest that for this class of medical device, and if all goes according to plan, they could be in the market within three years.
How does the device work?
The device includes a sensor that’s designed to detect cytokines, a type of molecule produced by immune cells. The human body makes cytokines to help activate the immune system and protect against external invaders, such as viruses or bacteria.
What’s the potential benefit of the device?
If there was a way to test a person’s sweat to determine if he/she was going to get more sick from a virus, such as COVID-19 or influenza, care providers could be more proactive in triaging, prioritizing, and allocating appropriate care in a more efficient manner.
The authors disclosed that there were possible conflicts of interest involving EnLiSense LLC, a company positioning for commercial interest in the research technology. The possible conflict of interest is managed by the University of Texas at Dallas. As it turns out, Drs. Shalini Prasad and Sriram Muthukumar have significant equity interests in this venture.
This company falls into TrialSite’s Investor Watch. EnLiSense LLC seeks to use small samples of sweat to transform the detection of diseases in the future. Imagine an easy-to-use, reliable, and cost-effective sensor technology that reports from low volumes (a few microliters) of passively-expressed sweat with no external stimulation. This company was recently recognized by BARDA.
Shalini Prasad, PhD, professor of bioengineering, UT-Dallas
Kai-Chun Lin, Department of Bioengineering, University of Texas at Dallas
Madhavi Pali, Department of Bioengineering, University of Texas at Dallas
Sriram Muthukumar, EnLiSense LLC, Allen, Texas