Here's Why Global Health is So Exciting

Monday, March 9, 2015

Source: MD&DI

The challenges of global health are daunting: huge populations in remote locations with little-to-no infrastructure leading to tortured access to care and poor delivery.

And yet advances in technology are attempting to narrow the chasm between the care that people can get in well-served locations worldwide and those in far-flung locations.

Here are two such examples, I recently came across:

The first comes courtesy of Smithosonian Magazine. The article talks about how researchers at Columbia University have developed a lab on a chip that can analyze a drop of blood from a fingerprick and when plugged into a smartphone test for HIV and syphilis in 15 minutes flat.

If that wasn't exciting enough the research team, which conducted a trial in Rwanda to test for HIV, believe that this smartphone accessory could be manufactured for as low as $34. It is small enough to fit in your hand and is powered by the headphone jack of a smartphone. This makes it especially suitable for places where getting electricity 24/7 is still a bit of a luxury.

Published results of the blinded trial show that the test "rivaled the gold standard of laboratory-based HIV ELISA and rapid plasma reagin (a screening test for syphilis), with sensitivity of 92 to 100% and specificity of 79 to 100% consistent with needs of current clinical algorithms."

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