Novel frontline mobile diagnostics device for antenatal care
Early detection and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (such as congenital syphilis) in pregnant mothers is an extremely cost-effective measure to avoid adverse health consequences to both mothers and their children. However, despite their clinical importance, STI diagnostic tests are normally unavailable in rural regions. Here, we propose to scale up development and deploy in Rwandan community-level clinics a novel, low-cost, front-line diagnostic testing device that enables simultaneous detection of HIV and syphilis. This device requires just one finger-pricked volume of blood, and performs diagnostic testing that is as accurate as laboratory testing. Integrated into this diagnostic instrument is an GPRS mobile health capability which performs real-time synchronization of data to a central health records database using the cell-phone network or orbiting satellites. By the end of the project period, we will aim to have achieved an MOH-approved product in Rwanda, along with the definition of a clear strategy to scale the life-saving diagnostics device to other countries. This microfluidics-based device is a revolutionary and unconventional approach to current point-of-care tests, which largely rely on lateral-flow, a technology which has been around for decades.