The combination of high access to antibiotics, challenges in infection prevention and control, and inadequate prescribing has proven dangerous, leading to increasing cases of antibiotic resistance. This is of particular concern as India has one of the highest infectious disease burdens in the world and the irrational use of antibiotics against these diseases could lead to higher resistance. Antibiotic resistance is already increasing by 5-10% annually and the signs are already visible on a daily basis. There may be many Indian patients who will not benefit from carbapenems, powerful antibiotics given to treat pneumonia and sepsis, according to an ICMR study.
These trends only point to one solution. Early detection of infection.
Approximately 60-80% of patients develop infections during hospitalization, including catheter-related bloodstream infections, ventilator-related pneumonia, and catheter-related urinary tract infections. If these infections are not detected early enough, they can lead to inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics and further lead to the possibility of antibiotic resistance.
Founder of Ramja Dr. Pooja Goswami took a rather close look at the downsides of delayed detection of infection from a personal standpoint. Dr. Pooja, a clinical scientist with a Ph.D. at his AIIMS in Delhi, after losing his father to these reasons while undergoing cancer treatment, has been working to address infections and delays in detecting antimicrobial resistance. I knew something had to be done. She notes that diagnostic modules such as culture-based tests, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), and sequencing are all time-consuming methods that are difficult to perform and can take days. I noticed that there is Show the results. These factors could prove fatal to the patient, and the only way out was to develop a quick solution.
Timely detection is a key component of Ramja’s journey, and the cause remains very close to Dr. Pooja’s mind. In 2014, she was treating her father, who was suffering from gastric lymphoma. , doctors want to see the report before prescribing antibiotics, so they want immediate results. She was hoping for immediate results, but it took her 72 hours. And it took a long time for the doctor to change the medicine.Her shell was shocked because during the wait her father died and she lost her father to an infection that could not be detected in time .
Shock turned to determination and Dr. Pooja set out to fill the gap. This revelation led her to initiate Ramja.
What are the features of Ramja?
Launched as a tribute to his father, the Ramja Genosensor is a unique paper-based system that detects microbial infections and antimicrobial resistance in less than two hours. “This is a world-class technology that has never been used for infection detection. increase.”
Ramja has been operational since 2019 after receiving a grant from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
Through Ramja’s technology, Dr. Pooja aims to benefit both patients and clinicians. According to Dr. Pooja, patients are the first beneficiaries because they get immediate results and avoid being exposed to inappropriate antibiotics. Second, existing detection methods require well-equipped laboratories and the time of specialized scientists or scientists with Ph.D, MD, or M.Sc level qualifications, so physicians You will benefit from this technology. RAMJA’s solution only requires a six to six foot room to set up the lab and a lab technician to run the process. Relatively, this is a simple method that requires a small setup.
Realizing that six species are responsible for the most common infectious diseases occurring worldwide, Ramja began working on a panel covering 90% of bacterial infections. “We have already started working on a sepsis panel and we are also working on a pneumonia panel,” she said, adding that she is now working on an AI-based panel as well. Through AI, Ramja will be able to predict the type of infection she has within 10 minutes.
Ramja’s technology is fast, cost-effective and portable, in addition to being gene-specific and highly sensitive. Dr. Pooja designates it as a tabletop device that can be easily transported and allows technicians to conduct experiments in all kinds of setups. The Ramja Genosensor is also the first and only sensor-first device with all results available on the cloud. This means that patients in India’s most remote areas will now have access to drugs from larger hospitals. No other technology offers this capability.
Additionally, the device does not require trained professionals. You must be an MSC or PhD student to administer culture-based testing in any lab. Ramja’s novel paper-based system is so simple that anyone with basic secondary education can be properly trained to administer the test. “Our protocol is very simple. He’s a five-step method that requires five days of training,” he added Dr. Pooja.
Finding the right staff, partners, and funding at the right time were just some of the challenges faced by the startup, whose progress has been slowed by the pandemic. However, Dr. Pooja revealed that he overcame them by supplementing with his own funds and was able to sustain the company through multiple grants. “We have received Rs. 2.5 billion government grants, endorsements from BIRAC, Facebook grants, Pfizer intellectual property grants, etc. We have also received grants from Pfizer Innovation Challenge this year. We are also winners of the Asia Pacific Medtech Innovator Top 10 for 2022,” she said.
Ramja is now targeting a market launch in three months. The company has a manufacturing division in Okra where it has started production lines and is working on the regulatory aspects of ISO and CDSCO approval. Initially, Ramja hopes to work with private diagnostic labs and hospitals. In parallel, Dr. Pooja also wants to work with large government hospitals. These hospitals have already been recommended by the Ministry of Health and have pitched their products to the National Health Innovation Program in October.
Dr. Pooja believes that the shift in mindset can also be a challenge due to coexisting technologies and process settings in the market. Convincing technicians and lab owners to change standards in favor of new technologies can be difficult. To combat this, Ramja’s strategy is to pitch not just technicians, but lab owners and doctors as well. “I learned that my product is not meant to be used by doctors or founders. They will understand why their pain points are being resolved,” she explained.
Ramja is one of six winners of the Pfizer INDovation program, launched by Pfizer and Social Alpha to accelerate the market entry of promising medical technology startups. According to Dr. Pooja, these companies are among the largest in the country and partnering with them opens the door to networking. By working with big names like this, they were able to work out their approach, consolidate timelines, and identify other bottlenecks. She believes Ramja can take a pragmatic approach and continue to make progress on the bigger platform. After all, Ramja, with a story as exciting as Dr. Pooja and a mission as pressing as this, deserves all the support they get. It will be interesting to see if it achieves