Frugal Innovation for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infections in Low and Middle Income Countries

Bacterial and fungal infections are increasing in prevalence and severity, not least because of rising rates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Poor access to diagnostics and inappropriate or overuse of antimicrobials are contributing to this burden, which disproportionately affects resource limited regions and communities. Alternative strategies for diagnosis at the point-of-care and novel treatment approaches are urgently required.

Here, we will develop to near-clinical readiness: (i) frugal imaging and sensing systems which can be used at the point-of-care to detect optical SmartProbes activated by specific classes of infection-causing microbes; and (ii) novel classes of therapeutic SmartProbes which can augment killing of target microbes following light-activation – a process called antimicrobial-Photodynamic Therapy (aPDT).

Work will be undertaken by investigators at Edinburgh and Liverpool Universities in collaboration with partners in India (Aravind Eye Care System) and in a global surgical network (GlobalSurg). The research will develop and foster global links with an ethos of “safe, affordable and scalable” solutions that will have the highest likelihood of clinical adoption in a variety of healthcare settings. The team will leverage existing capability and expertise across the THT group in manufacturing, regulatory and commercialisation support to expedite development.


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