US-based health-tech startup Hemex Health has upgraded its Gazelle Hb Variant test that facilitates accurate measurement of fetal haemoglobin (Hb F).

The improved accuracy can help with hydroxyurea medication monitoring in point-of-care settings.

The software update comes only months after the firm announced that its Hb Variant test can now detect beta thalassemia disease and trait in addition to sickle cell disease (SCD) and trait.

Hemex Health CEO Patti White said: “We are excited to make this announcement on World Thalassemia Day to help raise awareness for severe blood disorders.

“Gazelle continues to deliver unprecedented capability to populations with a high prevalence of sickle cell and beta thalassemia.

“In addition to this Hb F measurement improvement, additional features are planned for Gazelle that will improve healthcare for sickle cell and beta thalassemia patients who have not had access to this level of testing.”

Since the 1980s, hydroxyurea has been used to treat adult sickle cell patients, and the US FDA recently licenced it for use in children, said the company.

The medicine has been demonstrated to enhance Hb F production in patients, resulting in fewer pain crises and hospital stays, according to the NIH’s National Library of Medicine publication.

The firm said that hydroxyurea is also becoming more widely used in India, Africa, and the Middle East.

In August last year, Hemex Health collaborated with India-based biotechnology firm Mylab Discovery Solutions to develop next-generation diagnostic solutions for the point-of-care testing of coronavirus and other diseases.