COVID-19 Catalyzes Remote Blood Collection With Mitra From Neoteryx
by Neoteryx, on July 16,2020
An article by Jen A. Miller in AACC’s July 2020 online issue of Clinical Laboratory News reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked wider use of telehealth, and a push towards medical devices and technologies that support patients in managing remote blood collection and specimen collection at home. Patient-centric collection allows patients to send their blood samples and specimens directly to labs for analysis, while they remain safe at home without risk of exposure to dangerous contagions. Designated clinical labs are processing remotely collected blood samples for COVID-19 testing, and also to help clinicians monitor other health conditions virtually in telehealth consults with patients via phone, email or video chat.
According to the article, an April 2020 physician survey revealed that 85% of practitioners surveyed were using phone calls or video to consult with patients, and 77% supported this rapid shift to telehealth, or telemedicine. This shift towards using virtual care pathways for remote patient monitoring (RPM) during the coronavirus pandemic has led to increased interest in at-home blood collection and testing. Arielle Trzcinski, a senior analyst at the market research company Forrester, is quoted in the article as saying that she predicts “a greater push on how we get to more convenient, cost-effective options for lab testing. Some vendors are already working on that, but it’s still an area that is further ripe for disruption and innovation.”
One such innovator already established in the remote blood collection space is Neoteryx, a medical device company based in Torrance, California. Neoteryx has ramped up production and shipment of its Mitra® microsamplers and Mitra® Blood Collection Kits to healthcare systems and research organizations across the US and abroad since the COVID-19 crisis gathered momentum in March 2020. The company’s Mitra devices, which collect 10, 20, or 30 μL of blood from a finger prick, are used for collecting at-home blood samples that patients can send directly to designated labs for testing.
Remotely collected blood samples for serology tests are playing a critical role in the effort to track SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to understand COVID-19 immunity and/or develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Mitra devices are being used in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 serology study, which is a nationwide SARS-CoV-2 antibody “Sero Survey” that is helping NIH researchers determine how many adults without a confirmed history of COVID-19 virus infection already have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The goal of the “Sero Survey” is to test as many as 10,000 American volunteers, who receive Mitra kits to collect their own blood samples at home.
“Unfortunately, I think it’s taken the [coronavirus] pandemic to really put a spotlight on the value of remote sampling,” Cathy Cordova, director of marketing at Neoteryx said in the AACC article. Cordova reported that although the current focus is on COVID-19, remotely collected blood sampling has other applications as well.
“Mitra is already used by organ donor transplant recipients, who need frequent blood tests to check their immunosuppression,” Cordova stated in an interview with writer Jen Miller. “Home testing lets them avoid coming into a healthcare setting repeatedly for blood draws, and makes frequent testing easier for those who live in rural areas, far from hospitals and clinics.”
The comfort and convenience of patient-centric sampling with Mitra is valued by organ transplant patients. According to the AACC article, a study recently published in The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine found that 82% of [transplant] patients preferred using [Mitra] microsampling devices for therapeutic monitoring of tacrolimus and cyclosporine immunosuppressants.
Another application for remote blood collection is in the realm of clinical trials. Cordova told Miller that Neoteryx has provided its Mitra microsampling devices to “several large pharmaceutical companies that have looked to implement their phase I, II, and III clinical trials for drug development through what they’re calling virtual clinical trials.” Volunteers enrolled in virtual trials can participate virtually, by collection their blood samples at home for mailing to the lab, followed by virtual consults with trial managers.
The primary focus of the AACC article, however, is on COVID-19, and the many different vendors that are working to provide home specimen collection and home testing kits. Some companies have reportedly been providing direct-to-consumer (DTC) testing services online, while others are shipping out home sampling kits for oral swab/saliva-based testing or nasal swab/mucus-based testing of active COVID-19 illness. For example, LabCorp’s Pixel, received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide at-home kits for comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 testing. Such kits are designed to sample mucus for active COVID-19 infection, rather than blood for post-infection antibodies, and include nasal swabs, saline, and special packaging for mailing specimens back to the lab.
Other vendors and laboratories listed in the article as those providing COVID-19 devices, kits and/or lab testing and services included Vault Health, Vitagene, Scanwell Health, Innovita, and Quest Diagnostics, among many others.
This is curated content. For more information on the many vendors, laboratories and service providers working on remote blood collection and specimen collection or testing, please read the original article by freelance journalist Jen A. Miller on the AACC website.