May 22nd 2020: MindSpire, an innovative start up focused on decoding and treating chronic stress, has been awarded a grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK’s “Business-led Innovation in Response to Global Disruption” funding call, which received over 8,500 applications.
Coronavirus spreads successfully across communities partly because symptoms often appear several days after infection, with current research suggesting that the viral load increases for 2-3 days post-infection and then plateaus at the point when symptoms appear.
“We need an early warning that we are infectious” explains Jane Ollis, Founder and CEO at MindSpire. “Waiting until we show symptoms just gives the virus extra time to spread."
MindSpire’s expertise is in de-coding and treating chronic stress. As infection invokes the body’s stress response, biomarkers established for identifying stress could be used to predict infection.
The project will look at Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which reflects the ability of the heart to respond to different situations, reacting to stress or illness before any changes in resting heart rate are seen. It will look at emerging research and how existing phone-based and fitness trackers could be easily modified to generate reliable HRV data.
‘This six-month project, using existing hardware solutions that could be easily deployed globally, will lead to new insights about HRV and its relationship to other early markers of respiratory infection” adds Dr Sunil Arora, Chief Medical Officer, MindSpire. ‘As a clinician whose work is focused on understanding the body’s response to stress, I’m really excited about how Mindspire’s wearable device technology and our scientific and clinical expertise can now be applied to developing early biomarkers of coronavirus infection that will help save lives.’
The project partner's Open University physiologist and neuroscientist Dr Duncan Banks, noted: “the key to our success is providing the necessary environment to create innovation by utilising the strengths of a multidisciplinary team comprising academics, clinicians and an SME such as Mindspire. This is just the tip of the iceberg, expect to see much more innovation to tackle COVID-19 in the near future.”
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Notes to Editors
Established in 2019 MindSpire is a Kent based privately-owned company that is focusing on de-coding and treating stress with vagus nerve stimulation using an easy to wear earpiece that can collect and interpret biomarkers of stress and provide stimulation via small controlled electrical impulses. It has completed a successful proof of concept and is now actively seeking investment to develop a fully working prototype that can be used for clinical validation. For futher information visit www.mindspire.co.uk
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk