There are already 759,203 cases of coronavirus in the world, 36,432 deaths and 159,415 recoveries. In Portugal, the total number of cases is 6,408 and the death toll has already risen to 140. These are frightening numbers that continue to increase and keep Portugal immobilized. Services, businesses and establishments were closed; leisure and cultural activities have been canceled and most of the population is in isolation. It is an amazing scenario that will certainly mark the history of the world.
The reality of startups has also been affected. A study by Aliados Consulting in partnership with the FES Agency reveals that 73.1% of startups have suffered a negative impact from the pandemic. The study was carried out based on a survey of 78 entrepreneurs, CEOs and directors of startups, with offices in Lisbon and Porto mostly. However, if on the one hand the virus has affected many startups, a small percentage (6.4%, mostly from the health area) sees this crisis as an opportunity to innovate and find solutions.
In this environment of uncertainty and global panic in which the enemy is invisible, the search for solutions is the priority. However, it also opens the way for false theories, rumors and fake news, especially on social networks. Several false reports have been published about the invention of the vaccine against the “new” coronavirus, which, if you think about it, is not so new anymore... An American laboratory, based in San Diego, claimed to have already developed the vaccine, however it has not been tested yet and there is no certainty about its effectiveness. Another fake news that circulated the internet was about the invention of the vaccine by a laboratory based in Cuba. That information was later corrected: it is not a vaccine to cure or prevent the virus, but a medicine that has cured, in fact, 1,500 people in China with respiratory problems.
Given this reality, BGI presents the solution. We are an accelerator of deep tech startups and, over the last decade, we helped our 143 alumni raise more than 210 million euros. Our portfolio includes TOP startups accelerated by different programs in the areas of technology, sustainability, food and health. Most of the startups accelerated by us were born out of academic studies and research that contributed to the advancement of science. We identify talent, innovative ideas and help to transfer this knowledge to the market, in order to respond to the needs of the population. Right now, the need is to fight the pandemic. The situation we live in requires quick and effective measures by those involved in this struggle. More than ever, health professionals need access to the best tools to deal with the enormous challenge that lies ahead. So, here are some of the companies whose magic can help to close this chapter of COVID-19:
Ihcare offers “showercare”, an innovative solution for cleaning in the patient's bed. It uses hot running water, without having to transfer the patient to a bath stretcher or a bath chair, reducing the professional's time for this activity. This technology is particularly important at this time, since the system is a remarkable means of reducing and preventing cross-infections associated with health related to hygiene, limiting the contagion of, for example, COVID-19 among patients of the same hospital. Ihcare is currently negotiating with its first client, a renowned hospital in Portugal.
Delox is developing a bio-decontamination system for disposable hospital masks and other personal protective equipment. In cases of severe shortage of this type of equipment, the implementation of this system aims to promote the reuse of this material, after decontamination. This company was invested by Hovione Capital, with Hovione being the protagonist during the pandemic in the manufacture of disinfectants.
HealthTextiles has developed an innovative fabric, TorTex, to protect healthcare professionals from infections. This comfortable, durable and sustainable antibacterial fabric has been classified according to the EU Personal Protection Equipment Regulation and successfully tested by SGS and Hoheinstein against staphylococcus aureus. TorTex is entering the German and Portuguese markets with the support of EIT Health to produce uniforms and masks to protect healthcare professionals and patients from hospital acquired infections.
4. Biodata Devices
Biodata Devices created Lifehub, a complete and certified solution for monitoring chronic or complex patients. This simple and affordable solution allows you to monitor vital signs and can be implanted at home.
Neroes promotes mental health through a training platform that effectively reduces anxiety without any side effects. This platform allows you to increase emotional control by 33% in just 4 hours, which results in a very significant decrease in anxiety levels. This is a scientifically proven solution that recently won the award for best innovation at an international scientific conference.
The Neroes training platform may be particularly important in the current context of isolation, which may have implications for mental health, as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is a powerful tool to support local public health and health professionals to combat this problem, with the advantage that it can be used from home. In this pandemic situation, combating anxiety is more important than ever.