Chikodi Okereocha

Nigerian-born neuroscientist, Osh Agabi, has invented KoniKore, a revolutionary technology that can detect diseases in the human body through breath.

Agabi, who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Silicon Valley-based start-up, Koniku, unlocked the digitisation of smell through the creation of the KoniKore, a device that detects Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the air.

The KoniKore, a chip that can smell, detects chemicals at very minute concentrations.

It has found applications across multiple industries – Healthcare and Diagnostics, Aviation and Airport Security, Agriculture, Military and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturing – with the potential to revolutionise many more.

By breathing on the KoniKore, the human being pushes out the diseases in the body.

The device is revolutionising healthcare and bringing hope to many low-income communities around the world, especially those without access to a doctor – who are currently estimated at 2 billion.

Addressing reporters in Lagos from his San Francisco, United States base, Agabi explained that with Nigeria’s physician-to-patient ratio placed at four doctors per 10,000 patients – which is far below the global average of 15 doctors per 10, 000 patients – the country’s healthcare and diagnostics space was ripe for disruption.

On the market gap the KoniKore device would fill, Agabi, a University of Lagos (UNILAG) alumnus, said: “Over 20 per cent of people around the world have never seen a doctor because of the poor doctor to patient ratio.”

“Just in the same way mobile phones disrupted the telecoms space, we are hoping to do the same in healthcare by democratising access to doctors.

“The KoniKore will work as a first-stage screening device, which will give a high degree of certainty in diagnosis.

“We will work hand-in-hand with healthcare professionals and existing systems to make them more efficient at carrying out their tasks. The goal is not to replace the current diagnostics systems but to complement them.”

Commenting on the inventor, Chairman of Platform Capital, Dr. Akintoye Akindele said: “For us at Platform Capital, Osh Agabi demonstrates Africa’s potential. It is our pride as a nation to have someone who has 21 patents to his name; he is celebrated internationally.

“He has created technology that can solve problems in food, security and healthcare. It is important to bring this technology home, so we can begin to solve the continent’s problems.”

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