On the ‘Path’ of diabetes management
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.