HaystackAnalytics develops India’s first Universal Infectious Disease Genomic Test

Tests to be rolled out over the next three months in partnership with hospitals and diagnostic centres across the country, initially targeted at ICU patients in hospitals

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Mumbai: HaystackAnalytics, a Mumbai based health-tech startup, supported by the Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India, healthcare veterans like Dr. Velumani, and private players such as GE Healthcare and Intel, has developed the first of its kind Universal Infectious Diseases (ID) Test in the country.
The test deploys Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to identify existing and emerging infections, while providing information on drug resistance to support and identify correct treatment options for patients.
The range and burden of infectious diseases is massive in India. While the novel coronavirus infected and killed millions of people across the globe, there are various other infectious diseases that continue to plague us, every single day. Distinctively, sepsis, a life-threatening organ failure, occurs when the body ends up injuring its own tissues and organs, in response to an infection, leading to shock, disability, multi-organ failure, and even death if left untreated in the early stages.  This may be a lesser known fact, but India accounts for the largest number of sepsis cases (11.3 million) and sepsis-related deaths (2.9 million) in the world, as per a global study conducted by US researchers in 2020 that covered almost 195 countries (published in the Lancet).
HaystackAnalytics has partnered with various diagnostic centers such as Unipath, Anderson, Sterling Accuris, Apollo Hospitals and over 20+ hospitals including AIIMS, to introduce their Sequencing based clinical products for TB and Covid in the past. The new Universal Infectious Diseases test developed by HaystackAnalytics will be rolled out with their current partners in a phased manner over the next three months, and will be initially targeted at identifying and treating sepsis in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients, but gradually be made available to anyone suffering from a fever of unknown origin, by eradicating the need to conduct multiple tests. The Universal Infectious Diseases (UID) test  developed by HaystackAnalytics, comes at an opportune time, as the learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic highlight the need for better diagnostic technologies, appropriate antibiotic use, and the renewed importance of infection prevention strategies.
Commenting on the need to ensure accurate and timely diagnosis of sepsis, Dr. Anirvan Chatterjee, Co Founder and CEO of HaystackAnalytics, said, “At Haystack, while working on two of the most debilitating infectious diseases today, Tuberculosis and COVID, we recognised the true burden of inaccurate diagnosis of infections in India and the world. Despite having a wide range of antibiotics and antifungal medicines, sepsis is known to cause almost 50 million deaths annually. A large proportion of these deaths can be avoided by early and accurate identification of the pathogen causing the infection. Haystack’s UID test has been developed to solve this exact problem by enabling rapid (within hours) and comprehensive (covering nearly all known bacterial and fungal pathogens) screening in a near to point of care deployment. Leveraging the power of next generation sequencing and AI, the team of scientists and engineers at Haystack has been able to eliminate the need for a redundant and expensive battery of tests, with a single test. Our single point focus is to prevent each and every death caused due to treatable infections.”
He further added, “Genomics has the potential to reduce trial and error in disease management and bring equality of access to high quality healthcare. Haystack is an innovator and an enabler of an ecosystem that seeks to understand current challenges and problems to create and provide technologies to the best of our abilities.”
A genome, simply put, is an organism’s complete DNA, and genomics is our ability to use this information to ascertain the exact cause of the disease, while providing the most effective therapy from all available options. HaystackAnalytics is building an all encompassing platform for healthcare, and has already introduced a game-changing TB test which is being used for accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis in India, yet another life threatening disease which claimed over 4.5 lakhs deaths in 2019.