IDbyDNA is making it easier to accurately diagnose infectious diseases
Our world is swarming with microbes. Many of them are harmless and provide essential biological functions to maintain the ecosystem of life all around us. Others have a tendency to exploit the human body and make a mess of our health.
A driving force in the losing battle between human defenses and invading microbes is often the lack of precise identification of the microbe causing symptoms. Many of us can relate to a situation where we may feel generalized, vague symptoms of a potential infection, visit the family medicine clinic or the emergency room, report these symptoms, and request care. Clinicians are faced with the difficult assignment of accurately and swiftly identifying the causative infectious agent and selecting the most targeted, effective treatment to rid us of the symptoms and the burden of infection.
While it may seem straightforward and step-wise in nature, this is not so simple or achievable given the current technologies and treatments available. Many patients tend to be treated with “broad spectrum” antibiotics to rid our systems of infectious bugs, introducing a host of side effects and potential for growing resistance in our bodies and environment.
Utah-based IDbyDNA is aiming to change all of this.
With a mission to change infectious disease testing with democratized Precision Metagenomics to help characterize diseases with data and actionable insights, IDbyDNA has been heavily involved in clinical testing of their AI-driven platform to curtail infection identified shortcomings in our healthcare system. From SARS-CoV-2 to urinary tract infections, IDbyDNA is collaborating with medical labs to bring more accurate, timely diagnosis of infections to the hands of clinicians and patients.
Led by CEO Neil Gunn, IDbyDNA passionately believes that infectious disease patients should be treated with the same precision that cancer patients receive today. “The increasing impact of microbial resistance, the number of antimicrobial markers, and ever-evolving strains of viruses make diagnosis more challenging than it has ever been,” Gunn says. “IDbyDNA’s products will be a key component for helping clinicians diagnose and treat complex and potentially life-threatening infectious diseases. The ability of IDbyDNA’s scientists to innovate will help drive a paradigm shift in the management of infectious diseases by providing doctors around the world with improved diagnostics that in turn will drive improved care and better patient outcomes.”
The infectious disease treatment burden on our healthcare system weighs in at over $120 billion per year, despite functioning with limited diagnostic capacity for individualized infections.
“In 5 years, the World Health Organization predicts that antimicrobial resistance will be one of the leading causes of death on a global basis,” Gunn says. “We have the tools today that can help define a better treatment pathway for patients with infectious disease and help reduce the increase in [antimicrobial resistance].”
IDbyDNA’s lofty goals of infection identification are within reach through the Explify software platform, an advanced precision metagenomics software suite that couples state-of-the-art computational biology and AI translating into high-confidence, sequencing-based infectious agent identification.
The company has built this highly curated database platform for thousands of infectious agents, tailored a custom machine learning and interactive interface, and optimized a first-of-its-kind, faster, targeted, cost-effective infection testing technology. Looking forward, Gunn believes that IDbyDNA will be “part of the standard of care for current and emerging pathogens positively impacting millions of patients a year and saving health care systems significant costs.”
In this world of evolving microorganisms that constantly evade our body’s internal and external defense mechanisms and side-step our best antimicrobial drugs, this identification innovation is welcome news. Perhaps there is hope for alternative methods to more accurately and precisely diagnose and treat the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of circulating infections within this country and throughout the world.