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Purdue Spin-off Fighting Cholera with a Smartphone

Purdue Spin-off Fighting Cholera with a Smartphone
Friday, 10 November 2017

PathVis, a Purdue University spin-off will prototype their phone technology to be able to detect the level of a pathogen in a given area and report this information back to health officials starting in November [1]. This is possible due to winning first place in the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project competition. The company will receive $300,000 to perfect and test their platform. [2]

The first test will focus on Cholera bacteria in water [2]. It is estimated that anywhere from 21,000 to 143,000 people die annually worldwide due to cholera [3]. If the PathVis team is able to deliver a quick and reliable diagnostic, organisations will be able to respond accordingly to the situation. To be able to provide necessary diagnostic data to specialised organisations is the team’s goal. [1]

The technology that is being used for the final product can be directly related to research carried out in the biomedical engineering labs at Purdue University. Once they had figured out pathogen detection in water sources down to a science, the team decided that the elements necessary for the diagnostic could readily adapted to fit a smartphone, meaning they could be applied anywhere. The platform can provide results in less than 30 minutes; compared to 5 days it would take a lab to test them. In addition, the GPS tag from the phone allows for exact location registration. [2]

The hope is that with the successful prototyping of this platform, it will also be adaptable to other infectious diseases. This technology could mean the difference between life and death in many places worldwide. [2]

[1] https://purdueiris.wixsite.com/pathvis
[2] https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/diagnostics/fighting-cholera-with-a-smartphone
[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs107/en