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Start-up bags grant to develop ‘world’s first’ tuberculosis breathalyser

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Noze, a Canadian AI start-up in the diagnostics space, has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the world’s first breathalyser to detect infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis. 

The grant, which brings the Gates Foundation’s total grant funding to Noze to CAD$1.8m, is hoped to fund a clinical study aimed at detecting tuberculosis (TB) in high-burden countries, using the company’s DiagNoze, a handheld breathalyser designed for the detection and screening of various medical conditions, including infectious diseases such as TB.

Working on the same principles as a breathalyser, the device, if successful, could mark a breakthrough in the fight against TB.

According to Noze, the results offered by the tool could shorten the time to diagnosis, facilitate earlier intervention, and improve patient outcomes.

“We are thrilled to receive additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Karim Aly, CEO of Noze.

“This new grant will support Noze’s capacity to profoundly influence the management and eradication of infectious diseases.”

The World Health Organization reports that TB infects about 10 million people annually, with one and a half million fatalities, making it the deadliest infectious disease globally.

Even more troubling is that TB is both preventable and treatable, yet in low and middle-income countries – where the disease is most prevalent – screening options are hindered by limited availability, high costs and an absence of rapid results.

“The power of our technology is in its unique ability to transcend geographical and economic boundaries, enabling even the most remote and underserved communities to benefit from diagnostic capabilities that were once exclusive to major health systems,” Aly explained.

“The ability to perform high-yield, low cost screening of tuberculosis is a critical driver in ending the global epidemic. Faster, broader screening means earlier diagnosis and timely treatment, which results in less spread and fewer lives lost.”

With the second grant in place, Aly said he expected the clinical study for the technology to begin in the autumn of this year.

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