How honest can we expect workers to be about symptoms of COVID-19 as they return to work they need for economic security and healthcare? Are employers or the government assuring worker job security when workers fall ill so that they can afford to miss work? These are some of the questions we’ve been mulling as Michigan Governor Whitmer announced her 6-phase plan for safely reopening the Michigan economy. States around the U.S. are reopening despite not reaching recommended milestones, and tensions are running high between people concerned about health versus disastrous employment numbers, including 48% of Detroiters losing their job in recent months.
Braden Shugarman is part of the latest cohort of startups supported by the Desai Venture Accelerator in Ann Arbor. He and his grandfather, Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Richard Shugarman, created Shugarman Surgical Innovations to market an improved eyelid speculum called SpecLite for certain ophthalmologic procedures. The original idea came back in September of 2014, when the elder Shugarman was working as a retinal specialist performing 30-50 intravitreal injections per day for people with certain eye disorders. He realized that for people receiving injections to retain and improve their eyesight with conditions such as macular degeneration and ocular edema, the current speculums available for the last 2 decades were functional but hadn’t improved much. To increase patient comfort and decrease complications and infections, Dr. Shugarman began to design a new speculum.
A microfluidic device invented at the University of Michigan and developed by U of M startup Optofluidic Bioassay may offer a cheaper, faster, and much more reliable antibody test than those currently being rushed to market to trace the spread of COVID-19. A microfluidic device is described by the company as a “lab on a chip,” meaning that it shrinks multiple lab testing functions onto a single chip just millimeters or centimeters in size. The technology enables faster results for coronavirus antibody testing with smaller sample sizes.
“A lot of people want to help manufacture PPE protective gear but don’t know how to get started,” says Jeff Trevorrow, CEO of Columbus Advanced Manufacturing Systems in Ohio. CAMS is partnering with its customer, fitness equipment manufacturer Rogue Fitness, in rapid production of Personal Protective Equipment that is reusable for front-line responders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. “Rogue Fitness’s CEO saw this need coming several weeks ago and ordered 5 extra 3D printers,” Trevorrow tells us, “which is about $360,000 of equipment plus hard tooling to make molds, and they’re giving [the gear] away for free. They organized this, and we jumped in.”
MI Manufacturers, Tech Companies Available to Requests for Ventilators, Remote Work Tech, Business Resources
Cronicle’s MICHIGAN LIFE SCIENCES & TECH BUSINESS COVID-19 COLLABORATION PAGE is now live and being added to daily. Michigan has a number of manufacturers, tech businesses, and hospital systems working together to create everything from medical supplies to vaccines to remote work and education options right now for COVID-19 response. Cronicle Press has put together a beginning list of companies posting requests or offering solutions to the coronavirus outbreak from business to educational tech to medical supplies and life science research. We will add to this list continually, but wanted to let you know it’s already up and running, from local manufacturers able to prototype ventilators and other hospital supplies to tech companies helping professionals and students switch to remote work options.
In collaboration with Arbor Biosciences and a number of professionals in the IT and biomedical field in Ann Arbor and the Great Lakes region, we will be helping organize and will be publishing some form of collaborative discussion or networking resources on COVID-19 response from the Ann Arbor-Detroit and greater Great Lakes business and tech communities and ways the tech and health sciences communities can network to find medical and business solutions to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on our communities.
The World Health Organization Publishes Technical Guidelines for COVID-19 Researchers Studying Antibodies & Community Spread
The World Health Organization has published information for COVID-19 researchers looking at antibodies in previously infected individuals to help gain a picture of community spread, the possibility of catching the novel virus twice, and to track other characteristics of the disease. If you or a company or research team you know is working on COVID-19 research, the following information may be useful as it is linked to more resources and related guidelines. Also, if you are not already following this page, this is where WHO publishes guidelines for a number of rapidly evolving aggregated studies and guidelines for COVID-19 response. We hope it is helpful to you.
University of Michigan startup Arbor Biosciences announced this afternoon that it is providing free kits to capture the genetic code of virus samples for researchers working on COVID-19 sequencing. According to a press release sent out by the University of Mchigan, “variations in the virus’s genetic code reveal how the virus has morphed over time—for instance, enabling it to change from an animal disease to one that can be passed from one human to another. The information could help shed light on how the genes of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, cause the symptoms of the disease COVID-19. But more important in the long run, it could help reveal the factors that enabled the virus to become infectious in humans.”
Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little tech twist, this year you can send an augmented reality valentine to a child at Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor using Spellbound AR’s new AR valentines.
There are now more than 20 SmartZones across the state of Michigan, which means incubators in dozens of locations to support local startups. Right in the center of Michigan, Lansing’s LEAP program rungs the PROTO Accelerator, supporting local startups in tech-related industries. Besides geographical location, what distinguishes one startup incubator or tech accelerator program from another is often the prevailing industry in that city that supports new ventures. In the case of Lansing, that industry is insurance tech.