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Diagnostics – Reagena’s diagnostics solutions shorten the clinical pathway for patients

Diagnostics refers to identifying diseases in patients with the aim of resolving a health problem. Various methods are used to arrive at a diagnosis, such as examinations, measurements and assays, which help to reveal the state of a person. The faster the right diagnosis can be made, the sooner a patient can receive the right treatment for their illness. Diagnostics is extremely important for treatment: it saves lives.

Reagena aims to create a testing procedure that provides quick and reliable diagnoses – even outside the laboratory. This enables shorter clinical pathways for patients in comparison to the pathways we are used to.

A history of diagnostics

Patients have been examined since antiquity in order to discover the correct diagnosis. They relied on sensory methods that now sound primitive: for example, some doctors tasted a patient’s urine.

In-vitro diagnostics (IVD)

Practices have evolved over time, and, thankfully, it has been a long time since doctors relied solely on sensory methods. Blood tests have been carried out since the 1920s, when, for example, practitioners in Finland were testing blood samples for haemoglobin using filter paper. When the 1930s came around, various blood tests were already developed.

This type of diagnostics – taking place outside the human body – is known as in-vitro diagnostics (IVD). In vitro refers to the Latin word for “glass” (vitrum). It is a descriptive concept because samples – especially blood, serum, urine or cerebrospinal fluid – are often examined on glass slides and/or stored in glass test tubes.

The current state and future of diagnostics

Modern molecular techniques were developed in the early 1990s, and the Nobel Prize-winning Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology revolutionised the field of diagnostics. PCR technology can be used to replicate short, limited sections of DNA. This makes it possible to examine whether a patient sample contains a virus, bacterium or genetic modification. The coronavirus pandemic brought PCR technology to the mainstream in Finland.

Diagnostics are needed more and more in today’s world

The wealth of knowledge and expertise in diagnostics is expanding, but new diseases are also becoming more prevalent. For this reason, diagnostics is an increasingly important field. Fortunately, diagnostics techniques are cost-efficient – in terms of health economics, diagnostics account for only about five per cent of health expenditure, but their significance for patient care is 70–80 per cent. Therefore, diagnostics are a good investment.

Today, various imaging techniques (such as X-ray, magnetic imaging, computed tomography and isotope imaging) expand the scope of diagnostics, playing a key role in diagnosing tumours, cancers and vascular diseases.

Rapid POC tests are becoming more widespread

Point-of-Care (POC) diagnostics are becoming more common. They involve conducting diagnostic tests outside the laboratory, whether at home or in a home hospital, ambulance or hospital ward.

Those who had not heard of rapid diagnostic tests before were certainly introduced to the concept during the coronavirus pandemic. We also experienced a rapid change in how the coronavirus disease was diagnosed and treatments were recommended as the pandemic progressed. Testing shifted from the laboratory to the home. Coronavirus tests are by no means the first diagnostic home tests, but they marked a paradigm shift in terms of the extent to which they were used.

Rapid tests have some undeniable advantages: diagnoses can be made without the help of laboratory professionals, and if they are done right, they help patients to receive treatment significantly sooner, with corresponding benefits to their health. They can also be used to control the spread of infectious diseases.

Among many institutions, the ECDC has studied the benefits of POC diagnostics, and a Finnish expert group has drawn up a list of best practices for POC tests.

What is POC testing?
Point-of-Care (POC) diagnostics involves conducting diagnostic tests outside the laboratory in settings such as the home, home hospitals, ambulances and hospital wards.
The benefits of POC tests are a rapid diagnosis and, consequently, an earlier start to treatment. POC tests can also help control the spread of infectious diseases by making it easy to identify and diagnose infections.
Further information on the use and implementation of POC tests:

Reagena – a pioneer in the diagnostics of animal-borne diseases

In addition to the coronavirus and influenza virus, the best-known animal-borne diseases are borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis, both of which are carried by ticks, as well as epidemic nephropathy, which spreads in the faeces and urine of bank voles. It is widely held that animal-borne diseases are constantly becoming more prevalent on our planet.

Reagena is a Finnish diagnostics company and a pioneer in the diagnostics of animal-borne diseases. For example, it launched the world’s first rapid test for epidemic nephropathy, providing professionals with rapid diagnostic results from serum samples. Reagena POC PUUMALA IgM is an easy-to-use rapid test for diagnosing acute infections of the Puumala orthohantavirus from serum, plasma or fingerprick blood samples.

Reagena also has a strong background in diagnosing tick-borne diseases. It has developed rapid tests for the health care sector to diagnose Lyme borreliosis and confirm cases of acute tick-borne encephalitis.

Diagnostics are developing in step with new technologies and improving public health

For now, the rapid testing of animal-borne diseases takes place in health care settings, with the notable exception of coronavirus testing. This is likely to change in the future, and the use of mobile technology will further increase in diagnostics.

Early testing and diagnosis benefit the patient and society as a whole while improving public health.

Diagnostic tools

  • Imaging
    • X-ray
    • Magnetic imaging
    • Computed tomography
    • Ultrasound
    • Isotope imaging
  • IV diagnostics
    • (Clinical) chemistry
    • (Clinical) microbiology
    • Virology
    • Genetics
    • Pathology
  • Endoscopy