The Ebola detection device known as the ZOE Fluid Status Monitor, is a new tool that will be personally delivered to healthcare workers in Ebola-ridden West Africa sometime next week by Dr. Marc Ó Gríofa, MD, Ph.D., FAWM. The honorable Dr. Gríofa is CMO/CTO of Noninvasive Medical Technologies Inc. of Las Vegas, NV.
In an exclusive interview, Guardian Liberty Voice (GLV) had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Ó Gríofa at length, about the Zoe Fluid Status Monitor. For the first time, the doctor revealed, to the entire world, that he himself will be traveling to an Ebola outbreak zone in the suburbs of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. He will personally demonstrate the proper use and effectiveness of the device to healthcare workers directly in the field.
The device is portable and battery powered. It runs on four simple AA batteries, which is an important feature since it is to be used on the continent of Africa where, in many places, electricity is at a premium. “When we began the development of this device, it was originally designed for home healthcare monitoring and long-term care facilities. The only thing that made sense was to use a battery that was so readily available that it wouldn’t be an impediment to the use of the technology,” Dr. Ó Gríofa said. “We were trying to think ahead with this stuff,” he added.
When asked if he could foresee any problems with regard to non-English speaking people using the device, Dr. Ó Gríofa said that his Ebola Detection tool is simple to operate, even for someone for whom English is not their native language. “The use of the device itself is actually extraordinarily simple. It literally consists of one button, which is effectively the on/off button. Once you apply the electrodes to the body and press the green button, the device will automatically do what it is supposed to do. Over in Africa, you can have several of these devices linked with (a) central triage computer. On very different levels, it uses a measurement called a ZO reactive index, or the ZOI measurement, and, very simply speaking, the higher this measurement goes, (the ZOI measurement) the sicker the patient. So it requires minimal interaction and minimal training for the use and implementation of the technology.”
This device was not designed to diagnosis or treat Ebola. Dr. Ó Gríofa explained, “At the moment, our most common use for this technology in a massive clinical environment is for congestive heart failure patients, where we can see a change in the fluid status of the patient, about five to seven days before clinical signs and symptoms of fluid overload occur.”
Dr. Ó Gríofa went on to say, “So before the patient gains weight, before they get congestion in the lungs, before there’s pitting edema (swelling) in the ankles, we will see the change in the drop in the ZO, that allows physicians or nurses to intervene in a home healthcare environment, (and) adjust the diuretic, adjust the fluid intake, to make sure that that patient doesn’t become clinically fluid overloaded and end up in the emergency department and four or five days in the cardiology ward.” He added, “We are also using similar principles in the alternate frequency of looking at intra-cellular and extra-cellular fluid volume to determine a dry weight for a euvolemic state for dialysis patients.”
Ebola and Dengue fever, along with other viral infections of this type, generally show a depletion of fluids and electrolytes, not an increase as with congestive heart failure (CHF). The use of these statistics, in conjunction with the previous the use of ZOE to diagnosis Dengue Fever, helps with regard to how the machine relates to use for Ebola.
“So what we are really doing is drawing a lesson learned from domestic clinical medicine, and then older data that has been gathered around the world and older viral hemorrhagic diseases, like Dengue Fever, to really come up with what we believe is a predictive index that would open a window of opportunity to say that this patient is entering an active disease state or a viral replication, before the clinical signs and symptoms occur, due to the Ebola virus infection and really before the patient becomes contagious. That is the whole idea of using this technology at its very simplest level, of detecting these fluid changes and changes in different fluid compartments before the patient becomes contagious. To give caregivers (and) to give officials a window of opportunity to be able to quarantine this patient before they expose others to the disease and then being able to monitor that patient, as the disease progresses, and hopefully (they) recover. And that actually occurs in real-time.”
Being able to differentiate between the different maladies one might contract on the African continent, like Ebola, Dengue Fever and Lassa fever, just to name a few, seems difficult. Dr. Ó Gríofa said, “One of the other big things that we’re able to do with this is that you could have a patient present with fever, with malaise, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and say in Africa that the two most common causes of that is Typhoid and Malaria. We would be able to differentiate on the fluid changes that occur and separate out those patients. And also, here in the United States, one of the big things that are going to occur, I think, is as we enter the cold and flu season, if this thing goes any higher, everybody is going to be panicking.”
Additionally, he stated, “Anybody that has a fever that has malaise, nausea, diarrhea (and) vomiting, they are going to be afraid that they have Ebola. So the setting of these fever temps, or going to outside emergency departments – within a couple of hours of monitoring with this device – we would be able to tell you if the fluid changes that represent a pattern that is consistent with cold and flu. You don’t have Ebola, go home, take symptomatic relief, get rest and you are going to be just fine.”
“That helps triage our patients in a rapid process and make sure that we are allocating the necessary resources to those patients that are going to become very ill as a result of those diseases, and then be able to send home the other patients and make sure they are not being exposed, or they are not suffering as a result of the Ebola virus infection,” Dr. Ó Gríofa explained.
When asked at what point the device would be ready to be delivered to healthcare facilities in the U.S., as well as in the portions of West Africa where the current outbreak was engendered, Dr. Ó Gríofa responded by saying, at the moment, “I am waiting on Pure Word to actually travel to Atlanta to go and see the nurse with Ebola, and then I am also getting a batch of devices ready to travel with me to Liberia next week. So I am organizing that process right now, and I am actually traveling with the devices to go and gather the data in Liberia.” He said that he would take the monitors personally to West Africa to treat Ebola patients, and potential Ebola patients, while teaching aid workers how to use the device.
“We’re trying to get ahead of this thing and provide every tool and resource that (as) it turns out, especially over the last 24 hours, the changes in temperature are just not enough. We feel that this device, in conjunction with the other measures, will really provide a potential predictive index to allow people to get ahead of this disease, contain it and then be able to monitor those people that have been exposed, their disease progression and then the potential recovery,” Dr. Ó Gríofa added.
When asked how he feels about making such a huge contribution to the world at large, Dr. Ó Gríofa stated, “Well, I’m a physician and my core effectively drives me to try (to) help people, so I see it as contributing to the overall effort. There are hundreds of other people putting in their blood, sweat and tears into trying to make sure that this crisis doesn’t get any worse and here at NMT, we’re just trying to contribute to that and making sure that we provide the best resources and knowledge to be able to contribute to the effort to make sure that this crisis is effectively quarantined.”
By Jim Donahue
Personal Interview with Dr. Marc Ó Gríofa, MD, Ph.D., FAWM, Noninvasive Medical Technologies, 10/16/14