An odd-sounding scientific experiment — a battery-powered “electronic nose” – has been awarded a $950,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada.
The grant, which was announced on Monday at the annual Grand Challenges Meeting in Delhi, India, was one of nine previously selected projects to receive up to $1 million in additional funding.
In addition to development, the new grant will be used to test how effectively the hand-held e-nose can diagnose TB from a patient’s breath. “Just like the police can take the roadside breathalyser test right to your car window, this device could take the diagnosis of TB right to the door of the hut in your village,” Peter Singer, the CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, told AlertNet.
Why we need a new test
Standard TB diagnostic tools need to be used in a lab setting, which can pose barriers for people in resource-poor areas where TB is more common. Though there was much excitement about the World Health Organization-approved Gene Xpert TB diagnostic test last year, the test has faced implementation problems. One concern is that the Gene Xpert cannot be used at the point-of-care. Continue reading