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COVID-19 Detection on a Handheld Smartphone-Enabled Platform

We are designing an easy-to-use, handheld device to diagnose COVID-19 and provide automated data tracking for accurate reporting.

Photo of Katherine Clayton
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OmniVis’ hardware device and single use disposable test kit (razor/razorblade model) attaches to a smartphone and reduces the detection process down to 30 minutes, accurately and affordably. Additionally, OmniVis’ data gathering & reporting tools provide insights over disease hotspots; enabling earlier warning before wide scale outbreaks occur.

What is the need are you focusing on?

COVID-19 is spreading at an uncontrollable rate, causing an unforeseen pandemic. It is difficult to diagnose as patients oftentimes remain asymptomatic for up to 2 weeks post-exposure. COVID-19 symptoms are not unique, mimicking flu-like symptoms such as fever, chest cough, and fatigue. Access to diagnostics is strained, exacerbating the problem. Without widespread testing, COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect our elderly populations with 93% of deaths occurring in just 4 countries.

We are focusing our efforts on translating our rapid diagnostic device toward the detection of COVID-19 from nasopharyngeal swabs. Our intention is for the device to be distributed for use to medical care facilities for rapid diagnosis and automated record keeping, providing more accurate reporting of COVID-19 cases. The affordability and accessibility of our device will address the issue of rapid disease spread by providing a versatile solution that can be administered on a global scale.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed
  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

We propose translating our device toward the rapid detection of COVID-19 from nasopharyngeal swabs to be distributed for use to medical care facilities for rapid diagnosis and automated record keeping. Our short training times will enable its use amongst a wide breadth of healthcare professionals and provide more accurate reporting of COVID-19 cases. Our device is designed to be used in any clinic (rather than an advanced clinical laboratory) and a rapid diagnosis will allow for patients to know if they are COVID-19 positive before returning home.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

With SARS-CoV-2 being a newly emerging pathogen, causing the disease COVID-19, the world is scrambling to overcome this worldwide pandemic. The exponentially growing number of cases is creating a strain on medical resources; including diagnostic tests. The world is reaching a time where scientists, clinicians, and epidemiologists need to collaborate to overcome these barriers. Therefore, OmniVis wants to be part of the global ecosystem that bridges clinicians and epidemiologists through rapid COVID-19 detection and automated record keeping of disease detection events, all on one platform. Our goal is to detect COVID-19 between 30-90 minutes, equivalent to one single machine testing 19 patients per day. The device takes 46 minutes of training time for those with a middle school education or higher, and with a variety of language backgrounds. The rapid, easy-to-use, portable detection approach would eliminate long patient wait times and be available for use outside of the laboratory sett

What is the name of your business or organization?

OmniVis, LLC

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

OmniVis creates handheld devices for rapid detection of infectious disease pathogens. We design the devices for applications all over the world—from detecting cholera contamination in drinking water in Haiti to detecting HIV at the point of care in clinics in the US. We’re aimed at helping underdeveloped countries, patients, healthcare organizations, and others impacted by infectious diseases.

What is your profession?


Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Sciences/Scientist
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

OmniVis will need help in manufacturing and with preparing for regulatory (FDA EUA, for instance).

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

The main barrier for implementing this solution include the need for funding that comes with developing medical diagnostic devices. Funding would enable our small but nimble team to grow further, with experts in regulatory, manufacturing, diagnostic assay development, software engineering, and business development. Our team is also scattered, and funding would allow us to live in one centralized location. Finally, we could use funding for a laboratory space for research, testing, development, and validation.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We are working with Purdue University for guidance in assay development for COVID-19 testing/diagnostics. We have learned about the importance of collaboration for COVID-19 diagnostic development. Further, we are developing OmniMasks, an open source 3D printed face mask initiative for people to print as proper PPE during the pandemic.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

OmniVis is working in collaboration with Purdue University to conduct preliminary research related to COVID-19 assay development. Our team is currently participating in these efforts by altering the design and structure of key device components to allow for the transition from 3D printing to injection molding and manufacturing. Further, OmniVis is working with generous funding from Peace First on open source 3D printed masks for protection for those working on the front lines.

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Photo of Susan Jackewicz

Katherine Clayton I stumbled upon this info from the Kaiser Family Foundation and thought of you...Might be helpful if you decide to pursue development for use in nursing homes :

Photo of Katherine Clayton

Reading how 40% of residents had symptoms of depression and how COVID-19 will further social isolation just broke my heart. And the data from 2017 stating that 40% of facilities have at least one infection control deficiency... thank you for sharing the KFF article, Susan Jackewicz - this is an incredibly eye-opening article.

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