Durham firm projects $4B in healthcare savings if blue light tech used to treat COVID-19

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A recent peer-reviewed manuscript published in the Journal of Medical Economics details a health economics cost savings model that Durham-based startup EmitBio says indicates that if its technology were to be used during outpatient treatment, more than $4 billion in savings could be realized.

The treatment, which the company designed to use light to treat mild disease, including COVID-19, is still investigational.

Treatment would come through a device known as the EmitBio RD-X19, which is not yet available for sale in the United States, that uses light to limit and treat COVID-19 patients.

But the company has completed three in-person clinical trials with more than 270 patients, to date, including finding that the device could eliminate 99.9% of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in a laboratory setting.

John Oakley, the Durham-headquartered startup’s chief financial officer, co-authored the study.

“Start treatment early and you can save lives,” said Oakley.  “Our data suggests with only 10% of the population receiving our at-home treatment, there would be 684,000 fewer COVID cases and over 17,000 lives saved.”

The model designed by the company estimates COVID-19 cases, deaths, and healthcare costs, the company said in a statement.

“We believe everyone deserves a treatment regardless of their vaccination status or risk factors,” Oakley said in a statement. “Non-systemic, variant agnostic treatments, such as the RD-X19, are needed to fight the next waves of COVID to ensure lives are not lost unnecessarily.”

Using light to treat COVID-19 at home

Earlier this year, EmitBio announced that its technology may enable the treatment of COVID-19 from a patient’s home, and the firm’s CEO, Dr. David Emerson, spoke with WRAL TechWire about the technology and the company in an exclusive interview.

Emerson told WRAL TechWire at the time that the company would continue to build support in the scientific, medical, and public health communities.  He added that the company would continue to test the approach and its products in a clinical environment, as well as “reengage with the FDA on appropriate deployment of the technology, whether through Emergency Use Authorization or some other pathway.”

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire