On the ‘Path’ of di­a­betes man­age­ment

Business Standard - - COMPANIES - SAM­REEN AHMAD

In 1997, when Vi­nay Ku­mar was 14, his mother no­ticed he was los­ing weight steadily. At first, he was given the colour­ful tablets that the vil­lage quack sold on his bi­cy­cle. But as his con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated, Ku­mar was ad­vised to be taken to the district hospi­tal in Shamli, a two-and-a-half-hour jour­ney by bus from his vil­lage in Ut­tar Pradesh’s Fateh­pur district.

The high school stu­dent was di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes with a blood glu­cose level of 465 mg/dl — over thrice the nor­mal read­ing of 140 mg/dl. The doc­tor ad­vised that Ku­mar be taken off school, as the di­a­betes was so se­vere that he could faint and slip into coma any­time.

But Ku­mar’s mother thought other­wise. It was purely be­cause of his mother’s de­ter­mi­na­tion, he said, that he com­pleted his high school and grad­u­a­tion. He then went on to do his MSc. from Ku­ruk­shetra Univer­sity be­fore land­ing in Ben­galuru to com­plete his PhD from the In­dian In­sti­tute of Sci­ence (IISc). It was at IISc that Ku­mar found his call­ing in 2012, af­ter meet­ing Pro­fes­sor Navakanta Bhat, to de­velop a novel tech­nol­ogy for di­a­betes man­age­ment and the de­tec­tion of its com­pli­ca­tions.

This is where the seeds of PathShodh were sown in 2015, a start-up in­cu­bated at the So­ci­ety for In­no­va­tion and De­vel­op­ment (SID) at IISc.

Ku­mar, who equates di­a­betes with slow poi­son that starts af­fect­ing every or­gan of the hu­man body, in­clud­ing kid­ney, heart, and brain, went on to in­vent a hand-held de­vice for over­all di­a­betes man­age­ment with Prof. Bhat, called AnuPath. Based on sens­ing chem­istry, this de­vice can carry out five types of blood tests and three urine tests re­lated to di­a­betes, kid­ney mal­func­tion, anaemia, and mal­nu­tri­tion.

Un­like the glu­come­ter, AnuPath not only reads the in­stant blood sugar but can also probe pa­tient’s di­a­betic his­tory for up to 90 days, to fa­cil­i­tate bet­ter man­age­ment of the sugar level.

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