UAE unveils new rapid blood test to evaluate Traumatic Brain Injury in 15 minutes

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The test requires a small blood sample drawn from the arm, from which plasma is extracted. This test measures specific proteins present in the blood after a TBI. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: ‘Time is brain’, say neurologists when it comes to intervention in brain injuries.

Now, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has unveiled a rapid blood test to evaluate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The test, released in cooperation with Abbot at the ongoing Arab Health 2021 here, is the world’s first US Food And Drug Administration (USFDA)-approved blood test. This test is designed to evaluate mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) with 95.8 per cent sensitivity, within 15 minutes, and allows the injured person to receive the required treatment at the fastest time.

How the test will run in real time?

A MoHAP spokesperson said the test will run on a handheld i-STAT Alinity platform. The test requires a small blood sample drawn from the arm, from which plasma is extracted. This test measures specific proteins present in the blood after a TBI. A negative result on this test can be used to rule out the need for a head CT scan, a common tool used to diagnose a concussion. For those who test positive, this test result complements CT scans to help clinicians evaluate whether someone has a TBI.

Speaking on the importance of this novel innovative test, Dr Youssef Mohamed Al Serkal, Director-General of the Emirates Health Services (EHS), said this test is one of the most important diagnostic tests that can help in the evaluation and detection of mild brain injuries, which usually occurs after falling down or experiencing car accidents, explaining that this new technology will help clinicians assess and detect brain injuries and concussions as fast as possible with accurate results.

Instant access to clinical information

Dr Kalthum Al Balushi, Director of Hospitals Department, EHS, underlined that the addition of this new diagnostic test was a significant step forward to help clinicians better assess patients with suspected concussions. In addition, the test provides instant access to a patient’s clinical information and development of his or her medical condition to avoid unnecessary tests, she added.

With this new technology, there’s no need for patients to be hospitalised for longer periods, which mitigates financial burden, said Al Balushi, adding that this innovative blood test could help overcome multiple challenges in emergency units.