US-headquartered healthcare major Abbott
plans to launch a unique device in India that can detect traumatic brain injury
using a blood test.
Sharon Bracken, President for the Point of Care at Abbott, says the company is developing a blood-based biomarker test to run on its portable i-STAT device.
The pharma giant claims this can identify problems such as concussion, a form of mild traumatic head injury. Currently, the company’s point of care tests include those for haemoglobin and kidney.
is initiating its trials in the US market this year after which the device will be brought to India. “The device will be available in India in the next 18 months,” said Bracken.
The device is designed to collect blood samples and test the protein level in the blood to assess the extent of injury, and whether the individual is prone to brain injury.
While the device is portable, the company doesn’t plan to sell it as an over-the-counter product. The company maintains that it is a specialised test, which has to be undertaken by a physician.
While the company is optimistic about this product, some of the doctors are sceptical about how it would work.
“Only a CT Scan can determine head injuries. No blood test can determine the extent of brain injury
or whether a person is prone to traumatic brain injury,” a doctor from a leading hospital said, requesting anonymity. Abbott
and the Department of Defense in the US tied up to develop this product.
The development of the test began in 2014 when the Department of Defense in the US committed to a funding of $19.5 million for two years. Abbott
had made clear its ambition of becoming a leading provider of point-of-care testing when it announced a $5.8-billion deal to acquire Alere, a global leader in rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests, a year ago. The deal is expected to formalise soon.