The novel coronavirus is not the only deadly threat to society – especially when medics are almost ready to present a vaccine for COVID-19. Diabetes is increasingly claiming the status of a pandemic, albeit it is not an infection. Forty years ago, about 100 mio people around the world had diabetes; today, their number is confidently approaching the half-billion mark. The dynamics look so menacing that the WHO included diabetes in its list of threats to global health in 2019, along with vaccine hesitancy and antimicrobial resistance.
Diabetes mellitus is a serious, life-threatening condition associated with insufficient production of the hormone insulin. A unique Russian invention, the Edvais non-invasive glucose meter, will make life easier for patients with diabetes. The project is led by the Russian company Brain Beat and its founder Edward Kryzhanovsky.
The huge difference that the new device makes is putting an end to daily skin piercing for measuring blood sugar level once and for all. Until recently, that was the only way to estimate the right amount of hormonal drugs that needs to be timely administered to prevent the undesirable consequences of hyperglycemia (from irreversible kidney and cardiovascular disorders to impaired vision). Patients simply had no other choice than daily pain, inconvenience and fear, not to mention a serious risk of infection.
The non-invasive glucose meter will change the situation because it can measure glucose without taking any biological fluids. Instead of regular skin piercing – people with diabetes are confined to those up to 8 times a day – they just need to put their finger inside the new device and wait for the measurement result.
“Frequent evaluation of important indicators for diabetes can save millions of lives, because a critical condition often occurs when testing is unavailable. Our device will help control blood sugar and other important indicators on an ongoing basis without taking biological fluids,” Edward Kryzhanovsky explains.
The blood glucose meter uses optical spectroscopy that collects diagnostic information about the blood biochemistry based on reflected (diffused) light (the device is fitted with a set of photosensors and LEDs). Algorithms were developed to remove a margin of error from the measurements. As a result, the meter user can measure their blood sugar as many times as they want, without having to collect more biological material.
The precision of measurements was confirmed. The device was tested, including in the Endocrinology Department of Outpatient Clinic No. 37 in St Petersburg. It was also tested abroad, in Puerto Rico, where the developers proved that its accuracy does not depend on a patient’s skin color.
Brain Beat’s achievements were recognized both in Russia and abroad and received multiple awards. In 2019, the company won Startup Village, the largest technological entrepreneurship event in Russia and the CIS. In 2018, the company reached the Top 3 of the prestigious Asian Entrepreneurship Award in Japan and also became one of the five best startups of the Astra Zeneca Skolkovo Startup Challenge. The device presentations at international healthcare and technology fairs (in the past four months alone, Edvais has been presented in the UAE, China and South Korea) have repeatedly stirred great interest from both representatives of healthcare facilities and potential users.
The company secured its unique development with patents, including in Russia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The developers also have safety certificates (something extremely important) for such a complex device, including from Europe. Currently, the device is undergoing registration with the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Healthcare.
The meter itself is ready to enter the market. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, production in China has been suspended. Still, the company expects that Edvais will become available for purchase as soon as next fall and pre-orders are already being accepted. This means that we can soon be done with conventional blood glucose meters with needles and disposable test strips.
By Olga Blinova