9 December 2013
Smartphone-enabled vaccine checks
Real-time immunity tests with a stamp-sized square of paper and a mobile phone
Cambridge Consultants is working with Diagnostics For All to demonstrate a mobile phone application that can read a simple test for whether a child has been immunised. A swab from a child’s mouth can be applied to a paper-based diagnostic device – with the mobile phone then interrogating the device to discover the immunity status of the child. This data can be used locally to make a decision on the ground – and shared on a regional or national basis to inform vaccine delivery programmes.
Globally, one in five children does not receive even the most basic vaccines. As a result, an estimated 1.5 million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. The Decade of Vaccines Collaboration – an organisation composed of leading figures from the international vaccine community – says only evidence-based, country-led prioritisation and planning can extend the benefits of immunisation services to everyone. Diagnostics For All’s technology, in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants’ mobile phone application, has the potential to provide evidence of immunity status to all the stakeholders – from the patient and the community health worker, up to the national vaccine programme management.
Marcus Lovell Smith, CEO of Diagnostics For All, said: “We needed a low-cost and portable device that could be used in conjunction with our assay to test immunisation in children. The ability to quickly and inexpensively test if a child has already been vaccinated will conserve resources and save many lives in countries around the world. The test is as simple as watching a spot on a postage-stamp-sized piece of paper change colour. By working with Cambridge Consultants, we were quickly able to demonstrate a simple and reliable method to analyse the results and transmit them using a mobile phone.”
David Chastain, programme manager at Cambridge Consultants, said: “The application of a smartphone to interpret and record this established low-cost diagnostic technology is ideal for developing countries, where mobile devices can transform healthcare delivery at the point of care. The goal of this project is to facilitate medical support in remote areas where there may be little or no access to medical facilities or trained doctors and nurses to administer the tests.”
Cambridge Consultants’ world-class engineering teams in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore design and develop cutting-edge medical devices and technologies for the world’s leading companies and innovative start-ups. The product development firm has a 50-year track record of helping clients get breakthrough products to market fast – from the creation of concepts through to commercialisation. Its work includes diagnostic, surgical and drug delivery devices as well as digital health technologies.
Diagnostics For All is a non-profit company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, creating innovative low-cost diagnostic solutions.
Cambridge Consultants will be demonstrating this latest diagnostic technology at the mHealth Summit, December 9-11, in Washington DC, USA, stand 918 – and at the 2014 International CES, January 7-10, in the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall 2, booth 26315.
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit www.altran.com.
Incorporated in 2007, Diagnostics For All is a non-profit enterprise creating low-cost, easy-to-use point-of-care diagnostic devices specifically designed for the developing world. These devices are elegantly simple and inexpensive. They require minimal training to use and minimal sample preparation. For more information, visit: www.dfa.org
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