Rare Diseases, Tech During COVID-19, UVC Disinfection and Face MasksIssue #14 · Jun 07, 2020
Just as we all thought the world would return to normal, protests started all around the world. There’s no excuse for racism and I fully support calm protests. But looting and destruction across the US have, in my opinion, nothing to do with fighting racism.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
But it’s not all that bad. For example, Slovenia was featured in Forbes as one of the 7 major tourist destinations after the pandemic. And honestly, switching to getting the news from Twitter rather than from the media has resulted in more positivity than usual.
Time for medicine.
Medics 4 Rare Diseases (M4RD) is a UK charity that educates doctors and medical students about rare diseases. The problem with them is that they are individually rare but collectively common. For example, in the UK 3.5 million people have a rare disease, but each one affects fewer than 1 in 2000. The challenge arises when it comes to educating medical students and clinicians about it. This is probably also the reason why many are diagnosed with an almost 6-year delay. That’s why M4RD educate about the area as a whole and not about individual diseases. They educate about the statistics I’ve mentioned, the challenges faced by rare diseases, the patient voice and so on. I find the approach fascinating, smart and purposeful. They have a video called Unusual Suspects that I recommend watching.
The news has been so saturated with COVID-19 that there are so many new things digital health had to offer during the pandemic. Here’s an article that sums up what’s been going on. I’m sure there are more, but they mention:
- A tabletop device to help directly access patients to draw blood or insert catheters.
- Ultra-fast genomic sequencing.
- Smart contact lenses for diabetes management.
- Fitbit launched their own heart study with 200,000-250,000 participants…probably to get back at Apple.
- “Flying pharmacies of the future” from CVS and UPS.
- A smart toilet for people, who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions.
A few weeks ago I first heard of disinfecting rooms with UV-C light. The other day I actually found the company online called UVC Solutions. They’re from Slovenia and they produce SteriPro. It’s a device that’s used to disinfect hospital rooms, operating theatres, ambulances and hallways. It’s much faster than traditional disinfection, makes fewer mistakes than humans as it is automated and is completely safe. A clinical study showed that SteriPro reduced hospital-associated infections by 34.2%. UV-C light at 254nm wavelength and it destroys microbes’ DNA and makes them harmless.
They became our new reality during the pandemic and beyond. But where do they really come from? Every major invention was once overlooked and face masks are no exception. They were invented by a Polish surgeon named Jan Mikulicz-Radecki. He was the first surgeon to wear a face mask during surgery around 1897. Ironically, what most likely made them a common protective gear among health staff was the 1918 Influenza pandemic. By 1923, more than two-thirds of surgeons were wearing them. This article also discusses the effect they had (and have) on COVID-19 - it’s a nice summary.
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