New research into white blood cells could spell hope for COVID patients

Shaare Zedek & Sight Diagnostics working to identify early deterioration in COVID patients, for swifter, more effective treatment.

A new research project has commenced that is designed to detect morphological changes in white blood cells in coronavirus carriers, in order to identify any deterioration in their condition at an earlier stage than would be possible otherwise, enabling faster and more accurate treatment.

The study is being conducted by Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, in collaboration with Sight Diagnostics, a company that produces technology designed to enable early diagnosis of various conditions, which is now turning its attention to coronavirus.

Shaare Zedek has been working together with Sight for many years, owing to the hospital’s huge Biobank, containing the largest bank of blood samples in the country. Hundreds of tests are made at Shaare Zedek every single day, resulting in a huge number of samples to work with. In addition, a year and a half ago the hospital established a science wing, enabling it to process samples far more efficiently.

Sight’s flagship OLO device that is being used in the new study is capable of advanced and swift analysis of blood samples using artificial intelligence and imaging technology. It requires just two drops of blood taken from a person’s finger to conduct testing.

It is hoped that via earlier identification of any deterioration in a person’s condition, swifter and more pinpointed action can be taken to arrest matters before they decline still further.

According to Ranana Ofen, deputy director of the study at Shaare Zedek, “We are delighted to be able to report a further step in our collaboration with Sight, and we hope that it will lead to many useful developments. The agreement that was signed this week made mention of the long-standing collaboration between Sight and Shaare Zedek over the past years, and now, thanks to our continued collaboration, Shaare Zedek has become one of the main providers of samples for analysis and research. This further step, of working together to enhance treatment of coronavirus patients, is the natural outgrowth of our years-long partnership.”

Yossi Pollak, CEO and founder of Sight, noted that, “OLO’s technology combines computer imaging and artificial intelligence with ‘digitalization’ of blood samples to produce over a thousand high-resolution images per sample. We believe in the ability of our technology to help diagnose and manage infectious diseases and we will continue to work in that direction.”

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