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UAE: Ministry unveils world’s first rapid blood test to detect head injuries 

Saman Haziq


Last updated on June 24, 2021 at 12.20 pm
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The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) revealed the first rapid blood test designed to evaluate mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) within 15 minutes, which allows injured persons to receive the required treatment at the fastest time.

The world's first FDA-approved test provides test results with 95.8 per cent sensitivity. MoHAP, along with the Emirates Health Services (EHS), launched the blood test in cooperation with technology firm Abbott on the third day of Arab Health 2021.

The test will run on a handheld i-STAT Alinity platform, an easy-to-use, portable blood analyser that delivers real-time, lab-quality diagnostic test results at the point-of-care.

How the test works

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 traumatic brain injury.

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 traumatic brain injury.

Speaking on the importance of this novel innovative test, Dr. Youssef Mohamed Al Serkal, Director-General of the EHS, said this test is one of the most important diagnostic tests that 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.

Dr. Kalthum Al Balushi, director of hospitals department, EHS, said that the addition of i-the STAT Alinity to the diagnostic tests of the laboratory is a significant step forward to help clinicians better assess patients with suspected concussions.

In addition, the test provides instant access to patient clinical information and development of his 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 the financial burden on the healthcare system, said Al Al Balushi, adding that this innovative blood test could help overcome so many challenges in emergency units.