Reportedly, coughs are the most common single reason for seeing a doctor, with one in three physician office visits related to cough symptoms, and in the US, over 100 million primary care visits result in diagnosis of a respiratory disease. ResApp is the world’s first cough diagnosis smartphone app, which in early testing has indicated that it’s as accurate or better than other, more traditional types of diagnosis in determining whether a cough is a cold or flu symptom, uncomplicated residual bronchitis, or possibly indication of something more serious like chronic bronchitis, pneumonia or whooping cough that warrants further investigation.
The ResApp technology’s inventor is Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne from The University of Queensland’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Dr. Abeyratne’s expertise is in areas of medical instrumentation and signal processing. In particular, he has contributed to medical ultrasound imaging and tissue characterization; Electrophysiological signal acquisition and processing, and novel technologies for the diagnosis of sleep and respiratory disorders. Dr. Abeyratne maintains an active research interest in appropriate technologies for remote area health. Prof Abeyratne’s research expertise is in medical instrumentation and signal processing. He leads several research projects in developing algorithms and electronic implementations for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and respiratory diseases such as pneumonia. Among the notable recent success in this area are: a pioneering and fully automated technology to diagnose sleep apnea through the analysis of snoring (and breathing) sounds, wearable technology for the quantitative, real-time estimation of daytime sleepiness in work environments, and a unique, automated technology for the diagnosis of childhood pneumonia in resource poor regions of the world. Research outcomes are currently being implemented on portable electronic devices and mobile smartphones.
Narhex Life Sciences Limited has executed a formal Share Sale Agreement to acquire 100% of ResApp Diagnostics Pty Ltd (ResApp), which through an exclusive license granted by the University of Queensland (UQ) is developing several smartphone medical applications for diagnosis and management of respiratory disease. The technology was licensed to ResApp last October through UQ’s main commercialization company UniQuest Pty. Ltd.
UniQuest identified the key drivers of value of the technology in the mobile-based health care market and is working with ResApp with the aim to develop the world’s first clinically-tested, regulatory approved smartphone application for respiratory disease diagnosis and management that can diagnose and manage various respiratory diseases including; pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough and COPD, purely from the sound of a cough, without need of any additional hardware.
UniQuest CEO Dr. Dean Moss said UniQuest is delighted to be partnering with ResApp and Narhex who are focused on mobile health. “Mobile apps have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by providing patients with a low-cost solution that does not require the purchase or use of additional hardware,” Dr. Moss commented in a UniQuest release. “This new era in mobile-based health care will see patients empowered with the ability to cost-effectively diagnose and manage disease.”
The technology is based on a machine learning algorithm that uses sound to diagnose and measure the severity of a respiratory condition. Narhex says the algorithm has been successfully tested for pneumonia and asthma diagnosis in a clinical proof of concept study of 91 patients conducted by UQ and enabled by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that demonstrated 96 percent and 90 percent accuracy for the diagnosis of pneumonia and asthma, respectively.
ResApp Diagnostics has enrolled its first patient in a larger clinical trial that was launched at the University of Queensland’s Health Campus in the suburb of Perth, Western Australia’s largest city on March 23, 2015. The trial’s commencement was featured on Australia Channel 7s Today Tonight that evening. According to the Today Tonight report, in its first tranche of clinical trials conducted in Indonesia, ResApp demonstrated a 96 percent diagnostic accuracy rate.
The new trial will gather and analyze data from 150 subjects with a variety of respiratory conditions, the objective being to further optimize ResApp algorithms for pneumonia and asthma. The trial additionally aims to broaden the app’s validation if other common respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, bronchiolitis and upper respiratory tract conditions.
Preliminary results from this trial are expected to be available within three months of commencement, and according to a Proactive Investors Australia report, ResApp is currently finalizing ethics approval to launch an additional trial at a second major Australian hospital that is intended greatly increase the speed in which patient data can be acquired.
The report cites as addressable markets for this technology as including at-home diagnosis and management of respiratory disease; licensing to large telehealth providers; and working with organizations such as the World Health Organization to deliver tools for low-cost diagnosis and management of respiratory illness in the developing world. An estimated 15 percent of the world’s population suffers from chronic respiratory or pulmonary diseases such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that require ongoing day-to-day disease management.
The company will initially target a range of respiratory diseases including pneumonia, bronchitis, COPD, and asthma, and says it plans to expand its diagnostic technology to address the entire spectrum of respiratory disease.
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University of Queensland
Channel 7 Today Tonight
Proactive Investors Australia
University of Queensland