Evanston, Ill. -- Northwestern University has received a four-year, $4.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and produce affordable diagnostic devices for infectious diseases plaguing developing countries. The grant is part of the foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative.
Earlier this year the foundation awarded a $3 million grant to Northwestern's Program of African Studies to study HIV prevention strategies in Africa.
While some diagnostic tests are available for low-income countries in Africa and Asia, they can be improved to detect diseases earlier and more cost effectively. Better test systems also are needed for disease monitoring and to detect the emergence of infectious agents resistant to drugs.
To succeed in developing countries, tests need to be easy to use and faster so patients can be diagnosed and treated in one visit to a clinic. Diagnostic tests and related instruments also need to be affordable and better designed for the environment in which they will be used and for the culture of the people who will use them.
David Kelso, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, has assembled a team of experts in engineering, life sciences, business, infectious diseases and African governance and culture to address these challenges. Northwestern's new Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies includes faculty and students from McCormick as well as the Kellogg School of Management and the Feinberg School of Medicine. In addition, two commercial collaborators, Abbott and Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc. (Amex: IMA), are contributing their expertise in diagnostic testing.
"This year, more than 4 million people will die in developing countries of diseases that can be treated if diagnosed in time," said Kelso, lead investigator on the project, who was in South Africa this spring teaching a c
Contact: Megan Fellman