The World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation has expressed interest in a business that is employing AI-powered technology to assist in the rehabilitation of persons with serious brain damage, particularly those brought on by strokes. The Global Health Equity Fund (GHEF), established by the foundation in September, will shortly be prepared to make its initial round of investments. In 2020, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus established the WHO Foundation with the purpose of advancing the objectives of the international public health organization. The WHO’s traditional financing pool does not include corporate donations, high-net-worth people, or the general public due to stringent legal and conflict-of-interest regulations; however, as a legally independent organization, it also has a broader mission to raise money from these sources.
A new equity fund is a $200 million impact venture capital investment fund that focuses on ground-breaking innovations that may enhance health all over the world, particularly in low and middle income nations. It was established in collaboration with OurCrowd, a global platform for venture financing that promotes early, privately held investment in developing technology firms. The fund is almost at a $20 million preliminary funding round, so BrainQ’s device might soon benefit. A stroke affects one in four adults over the age of 25 and frequently results in damage to the neural networks in the brain that affect motor function.
The device is significantly cheaper than existing therapies.
An electronic wearable that uses non-invasive, frequency-tuned, extremely low frequency and low-intensity electromagnetic fields with the aim of promoting neurological recovery in the central nervous system has been created by the Israeli tech company BrainQ. The Israeli company’s gadget is currently undergoing clinical trials, and it has previously secured accelerator funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) in 2019. The use of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to neuromodulate at specific frequencies may be able to influence these oscillations and aid in neuro recovery, according to BrainQ. A growing body of evidence suggests that neural oscillations at specific frequencies are linked to opening neuroplasticity periods.
According to the company, stroke victims’ oscillatory patterns are “considerably different” from those of healthy people. The company operates on the premise that exposing such unhealthy individuals to specific EMF frequencies associated with healthy functioning may improve network plasticity and functional ability. Geetha Tharmaratnam, Chief Impact Investment Officer at WHO Foundation, called the device “science fiction” and noted that it was substantially less expensive than current treatments. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are all replaced by it. Because it is a wearable device, you can bring it inside your home and let your family members help you. The recovery period will be far shorter than it is for stroke patients right now, which is the last point to be made.
Technology plays a very big part of the answer.
Tharmaratnam was searching for potential investments for the GHEF when he attended the OurCrowd Global Investment Summit in Israel last month. There are a tremendous number of stroke patients worldwide. This is a global problem, not just one that affects Europe or North America. As a result, BrainQ is an example of a firm in which we might be interested when we start investing. The Access Promise of the WHO Foundation, which GHEF supports, guarantees that the portfolio firms’ solutions will be available to individuals and nations who are experiencing inequality. An access plan must be created by each business. Jon Medved, the CEO of OurCrowd, and Dr. Morris Laster, the managing partner of OurCrowd, are the fund’s leaders. Tharmaratnam is funding the fund from the WHO Foundation. In order to help, the WHO Foundation and OurCrowd will establish an advisory council.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought attention to the unequal availability to medical technology and vaccinations in low and middle income countries, the Global Health Entrepreneurship Fund (GHEF) was created. As an investor, COVID-19 was a wake-up call for me, Medved stated in September when GHEF was revealed. Tharmaratnam joined the WHO Foundation a year ago, and one of her first initiatives was GHEF. The initiative currently only works with OurCrowd, but she aims to establish a number of other global partners focusing on related ideas. No nation or healthcare system was prepared for COVID. Her job is to get investors on board with the WHO’s purpose and the knowledge that there is a general lack of funding for healthcare.
WHO Foundation has come under fire in the past for accepting funds.
For taking money from businesses that did not adhere to international health norms, the WHO Foundation has previously drawn criticism. For instance, in 2021, Nestlé, a multinational food and beverage business, was accused of breaking international marketing regulations for newborn milk formula and was suspected of giving $2.1 million. Receiving money, however, does not imply support for a company’s operations, according to the foundation. The organization, according to Tharmaratnam, has “the same checks and balances” as the WHO in terms of who can donate money. You must be in agreement with it if we ask for money from you to support WHO activities.
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