New Tools for Global Health
Imagine a mother in a remote Nigerian village, a worker in a manufacturing facility in China, or an American tourist in Brazil who becomes sick. Maybe the fever and malaise are caused by a virus and will pass in a day or two. Or, perhaps they are early signs of malaria requiring prompt medical attention. Should the mother, worker or tourist journey to the nearest clinic or local medicine store for the 3-6 hour blood-based laboratory work-up, or gamble that they will soon be feeling better? Now, imagine that they can avoid the dilemma altogether. From their cupboard, they take a cardboard strip and dip it in a tablespoon of urine. If two lines appear on the strip, they are positive for clinical malaria and know instantly that the infection very likely is malaria. Now, further imagine having the UMT as part of the travel kit for the 18 million US travelers who visit malaria endemic countries every year. The UMT will not only remove the guesswork currently used in managing clinical malaria and enable immediate appropriate treatment, it will also help reduce the unnecessary use, and thus cost of treatment.