By Mardú Marrón.
The Venezuelan Irene Bosch surprise the world again with the creation of a rapid diagnostic test for virus disease, now directed to reduce the contagion for coronavirus: the Dart Direct Antigen Rapid Test.
Already in 2012, the biologist who graduated from the Central University of Venezuela, with a great experience in the research from dengue, zika, and chikungunya, developed rapid tests to detect mosquito-borne disease.
Although she’s struggled with all those viruses in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) labs, in the School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and her company E25BIO all in the United States, Bosch has reached those results, attracted by a sort of devotion: her native Venezuela.
“Ten years ago, when a Venezuelan journalist and I were in MIT, we identified a phenomenon in Venezuela that must be fought since worsened the situation in the health-care system: the disinformation favored by the regime,” Bosch told El Pitazo.
That’s when the idea of the rapid tests come up. “We decided to create a way for citizens could inform themselves about what was happening, since there was a deterioration in the health system, among the people and the workers. The epidemiological bulletin that collecting all the disease statistics started to disappear,” Bosch said.
Then, they created a rapid test to detect dengue disease, which is for sale in Colombia. Then came the device for zika and chikungunya that also allows an early detection to receive medical treatment that can save lives.
Encouraged by those first steps, Bosch founded her company E25Bio in 2008 alongside Lee Gehrke, a Harvard and MIT professor and a group of scientists, among them, two Venezuelans. The company is dedicating to make rapid tests to detect infectious diseases.
Bosch bets that this device to diagnose coronavirus, which is similar to a pregnancy test and whose results reach the cellphone in record time – only 15 minutes- is available for everyone, as soon as possible, especially in Venezuela.
“We used the same technology that we developed for the dengue test. Otherwise, we couldn’t have done it,” Bosch said. She was considerate it would have been easier to contain the coronavirus in the world if there had tests that guarantee an earlier and faster detection.
Faster, simple, and big scale.
Irene Bosch expressed that E25BIO uses cutting-edge technology to the development of these devices, which purpose also is making them accessible to people.
For its practicality, this device could become part of the daily life of any person, including doctors who want to clear up doubts whether they have the virus or no.
Now, they’re waiting for the approval from the regularities agencies in the United States to push the production button. Bosch says that with the helping of the State and networking, E25BIO can go from producing 100 thousand to 7 million devices every day and so satisfy the demand around the world from rapid tests.
For Bosch, Latin America is also a fertile land to produce these tests, “We have the talent, there is no need to buy in China such a simple thing like this. If you make a shoe, you can make this kind of things, these are simple components, so, we want to propose to producing in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela when it allows.”
The virus knocks the door
It can be saying that her eagerness for scientific research comes from a family tradition. “There are a lot of doctors in my family, and I always run to them. They give me calm and serenity,” says Bosch, and she doesn’t hesitate to applaud the job from all of them in Venezuela.
“The Venezuelan doctor is an example of professionalism and heroism because conditions are extremes.”
The scientist confesses that the virus knocked on her door: she’s got the disease. Currently, she is in strict isolation for coronavirus with light symptoms, but she assures that thanks to the rapid tests, she avoided spreading the virus to her grandparents. She is waiting for the average time of incubation to confirms her suspicions.
She recommends to Venezuelan people to stay at their homes as protection from the virus, present in more of 100 countries, “is not simple flu, this is a serious, serious disease,” she warns.
Bosch trusts in the arrival of a new government in Venezuela, which the health and wellness of the people be a priority. “In Venezuela, we have been in an epidemic for a long time, so if that epidemic goes away, would be the best,” she opines.
P.D. After strict isolation, Irene Bosch is back in her lab.