COVID-19 Testing, Monitoring, and Filtration

May 8, 2020 | Blog


Issue #56. Friday, May 8
Hello Everyone,

For this edition of the Zoic newsletter, we will be continuing our coverage of new diagnostics and therapies. We continue to see new innovations for COVID 19.-Neal

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Chris and Neal discuss COVID-19 with guest Dr. Franklyn Prendergast. Having suffered from COVID-19 himself, Frank shares his recovery experience and insight. 

Chris and Neal further dig into the importance of leadership during stressful times, oil prices, and market manipulation and the fastest decline in the stock market at 35%. Chris explains the profile of a bear market and describes the bear market bounce. Additionally, Neal discusses algorithms in venture capital while questioning the creation of a lasting assessment advantage for company investments.

Dr. Franklyn Prendergast has greatly influenced the direction of healthcare and medical sciences research in the United States and around the globe. In recent years, he turned his attention to healthcare in the GCC, providing strategic guidance to the Saudi Ministry of Health and serving as a keynote speaker for the Ministry’s National Healthcare Strategy and Health System Design conferences held in 2014.

Currently, Franklyn is a member of the Board of Directors for Eli Lilly, Cancer Genetics, Inc., and the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), in addition to other organizations. He has also worked extensively with the National Institutes of Health, Board of Advisors for Division of Research Grants; the Board of Scientific Advisors of National Cancer Institute; and the National Cancer Advisory Board.

A former Rhodes scholar, Franklyn earned his BA and his MA from Oxford University. He then went on to receive his MD from the University of the West Indies, and his PhD from the University of

The Bear Market Bounce: Guest Dr. Franklyn Prendergast
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Members of the National Nurses United protest across from the White House on Thursday. The nurses say the shoes represent other nurses who’ve died from Covid-19. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

COVID-19 Testing, Monitoring, and Filtration
In the testing space, we now see some companies offering direct to consumer antibody testing. This allows people to bypass some bottlenecks by purchasing the testing directly. However, the most recent test still requires the customer to go to a site for sample collection. The turnaround time is quick but there is still no more than one at home sample collection test so far. 
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We also see continued innovation at monitoring of people for vital signs specifically for potential COVID 19 infection. This now includes a prototype sensor patch that looks for symptoms such as coughing and temperature. This can help with screening and isolation but still does not test directly for the virus or antibodies. 
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On the therapeutic side, some severe cases have been treated with blood filtration methods as mentioned before. These filter out inflammatory components to potentially reduce systemic inflammation in reaction to the virus. This could reduce the most severe effects of the infection. Another blood filter was recently approved that can be used for this purpose. 
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Similarly, another blood filtration device has shown promise by actually removing bacteria and viruses. This is early data, but this approach goes even further than the previously described by trying to filter out the infectious microorganisms directly. This will not just reduce the bacterial or viral load (in the case of COVID-19) but also reduce the amount of systemic inflammation. In severe cases, this inflammation is more of a concern than the infection itself at that point. 
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Finally, going back to diagnostics, quite a bit of focus has been on the diagnostics methods themselves. We have talked about the need for DNA amplification, which requires complex and expensive devices, personnel, and methods. However, just as complex but also just as necessary is the step before, which is taking a blood or nasal swab sample and purifying it. This is needed to remove cells and other material to leave just the DNA or RNA behind. Currently, this is also a bottleneck as the process still requires several steps in a lab. Furthermore, the chemicals needed for this only come from a few sources, such as Qiagen; these companies are trying to keep up with demand but the supply is still limited globally. There are methods that can dramatically shorten the time and reduce the complexity of this process which we are keeping an eye on. 
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What We’re Reading
No Mercy / No Malice
The Fourth Great Unlock
Fast Company
Wearing masks may have a surprising unintended consequence
KKR still hunting for deals despite $1.3B loss during Q1
 The Atlantic
It’s the Pandemic, Stupid

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