A funding of $32 million towards research for the discovery and development of affordable tools for rapidly diagnosing diseases in developing nations has been announced by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a Canadian NGO.
The aim is to diagnose and treat illness on the spot in the rural regions of poor countries, and potentially save more lives now lost to delays.
"Imagine a hand-held, battery-powered device that can take a drop of blood and, within minutes, tell a healthcare worker in a remote village whether a feverish child has malaria, dengue or a bacterial infection," said Peter Singer, head of Grand Challenges Canada which is partnering with the Microsoft founder Bill Gates's charitable organization on the project.
"More rapid diagnosis of malaria alone could prevent 100,000 deaths a year."
Gates's foundation is providing $21.1 million over three years to this research while Grand Challenges, backed by the Canadian government, is contributing $10.8 million, they said in a statement.
The research will focus on five areas: drawing blood and prepping it for analysis, analyzing biological samples to identify diseases, developing technologies to obtain and transmit data and receive test results back, and ensuring these devices will work in the field where there is often no electricity or refrigeration.