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Future Health Threats: Detect

How might we develop practical, appropriate tools and approaches that help detect threats early and ensure they are reported quickly?

Few easy-to-use, field-based tools for rapid, early and accurate identification of disease vectors and infection exist. Potential disease threats often go undetected until an outbreak erupts. In addition, many clinics and laboratories lack the basic systems needed to ensure the provision of quality care or to adequately transport samples, and quality laboratory testing and existing diagnostics for infectious diseases are highly specialized rendering them unsustainable over time. How might we develop practical, appropriate tools and approaches that help detect threats early and ensure they are reported quickly?

Surveillance

With few user-friendly, field-based tools for rapid, early and accurate identification of disease vectors and infection – plus a shortage of medical entomologists (who study insects) and animal health experts like veterinarians, potential disease threats often go undetected until an outbreak erupts. There are also few methods for accurately estimating vector populations like mosquitoes, which makes understanding disease transmission challenging.

Help us uncover how might we make it easier to detect threats early – especially those that start with animals and insects – with tools and approaches that ensure they’re not only reported quickly, but that also facilitate analysis and better data-driven decision-making?

Clinic & Laboratory Systems

Many clinics and labs face challenges that make quality care and testing difficult – like unstable or unsafe water supply, inadequate waste management tools, difficulty handling highly hazardous samples, subpar environmental control systems, and even inventory management issues that result in lack of supplies.

We are seeking solutions to better understand how we might better equip clinics and labs to provide quality care – both on a routine and emergency basis – and ensure they are well-prepared to respond in times of crisis.

Diagnostics

There is a large need for cutting-edge, low-cost diagnostic platforms and technologies that can lead to better detection and surveillance. Diagnostic tools for infectious disease are often highly specialized, rely on electricity or a temperature-controlled supply chain, are not designed to operate in many settings where they are needed most, and are difficult to interpret by healthcare staff who are often untrained to use them.

We are seeking solutions to better understand how might we improve these tools to more rapidly, accurately and easily identify emerging infectious diseases like Zika in patients.

Sample Transport

The transportation of samples is critical to identify and diagnose infectious diseases in a timely manner. Challenges with sample transportation can negatively affect the quality of the diagnosis, and even limit the ability to obtain samples to test from rural areas, which not only affects surveillance and diagnostic efforts, but also makes it harder for some countries to meet International Health Regulations to confirm a reportable condition. Plus, it disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable who don’t have access to services.

How might we improve transport, tracking and storage of samples to ensure more efficient and accurate surveillance and diagnosis of infectious diseases?

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