Lab-on-a-chip diagnostics to enable affordable research
The first full day of AAPS 2016 kicked off yesterday morning with a plenary session advances in pharmaceutical sciences to drive prevention and cures.
“We’re living in world that’s getting more and more connected,” said Frederick Balagadde, Ph.D., KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH), and AAPS plenary speaker.
Balagadde explained that while many of these issues, such as the Ebola outbreak, originate as third world problems, “in a globally interconnected world they affect everyone.”
To address these issues, Balagadde and his team of researchers at K-RITH - the first microfluidics research facility in Africa - are developing microfluidic systems to increase access to affordable healthcare.
“We need to think of nontraditional approaches,” he said, after demonstrating on a map that the world’s poorest countries carry the biggest proportion of infection disease.
“The traditional approaches to solving this problem are inadequate in many ways,” he explained.
The systems Balagadde and his team are developing in Africa put the capabilities of a medical laboratory, and all of its staff, onto a small portable device.
“If one healthcare worker is doing the work of 100, research becomes much more affordable,” said Balagadde.
Ultimately, Balagadde explained that through these system, the researchers could “create value that can be of usefulness to the rest of the world,” and as such, add sub-Saharan Africa into “the global value creating system.”
To learn more about Balagadde's work in microfluidics, watch his 2010 TEDTalk below.