NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen today said it has joined a global initiative to develop affordable and portable molecular diagnostics for resource-poor regions of the world.
The Point-of-Care Diagnostics Initiative is led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada and targets the development of new molecular diagnostic platforms to improve healthcare in the poorest regions of the world. Qiagen joins more than 20 other non-profits, academic, and corporate organizations in the initiative.
The development of affordable, high-quality, and portable diagnostic systems is one of the 16 "Grand Challenges in Global Healthcare," which seeks to improve healthcare in countries with meager resources.
Qiagen has been developing a portable instrument based on its molecular testing technologies for point-of-need applications. Its role in the initiative is to develop a molecular testing device that is easy to use and portable so that it can be deployed in the field away from access to a hospital or laboratory. The company also will develop assay technologies.
The project is part of the technology development phase of the POC Dx initiative, which will then integrate the technologies into a multifunctional platform.
"The new low-cost portable testing devices currently under development are intended to enable reliable, quick diagnosis and timelier treatment of patients," Ellen Sheets, chief medical officer of Qiagen, said in a statement. "We believe that modern diagnostic technologies can have a very significant positive impact on developing countries, helping to save lives, reduce economic impacts, and curtail the spread of infectious diseases."