Health Pharma

Pfizer pays $179 to acquire app that can detect Covid-19 from a cough

HQ Team

September 29, 2022:

Global pharmaceutical company Pfizer paid $179 to acquire a startup ResApp Health Limited that has developed an app that can detect respiratory diseases, including Covid-19, based on cough analysis.

The University of Queensland developed the technology. The university’s commercialisation company UniQuest licensed the UQ technology to ResApp in September 2014. The technology records a patient’s cough on a smartphone and analyses sounds and simple symptoms, such as a runny nose, to diagnose a range of chronic and acute diseases. Initially, the system could diagnose pneumonia, but by 2019 the technology could effectively distinguish asthma, croup and bronchiolitis and now Covid-19 too.

The developers started trials on Coronavirus as soon as the pandemic started, and by early 2022 the data showed excellent results for Covid testing.

The trial found the system could accurately detect 92% of positive COVID cases solely from the sound of a cough. The system also recorded 80% specificity, meaning only two out of every 10 people screened received false positive results.

Clinical trials are continuing, and the company said if successful, the technology could potentially reduce the number of PCR and rapid antigen tests used worldwide.

Pfizer initially offered $65 million for the technology, but the deal was signed for $179 finally. A Pfizer spokesperson said the preliminary data was encouraging, and the deal expands the company’s footprint into the sphere of digital health.

“We believe the COVID-19 screening tool is the next step to potentially provide new solutions for consumers that aim to quell this disease,” the spokesperson said to ABC news. “We look forward to refining this algorithm further and working with regulators around the world to bring this important product to consumers as quickly as possible.”

The technology was developed by Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne and his team.” From the very beginning, I had a big vision to develop scalable, cheap technologies to diagnose pulmonary diseases all over the world – not only in remote sub-Saharan Africa but even in developed urban cities like New York and Brisbane,” said Abeyratne. “I hope they will be able to diagnose killer diseases like pneumonia in very remote communities in Africa and Asia because they don’t have access to sophisticated hospitals.”

ResAppDx is CE Marked in the European Union, and TGA approved in Australia.

Image Source: “Pfizer Sign II” by Montgomery County Planning Commission

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *