Diagnostiek voor de mondiale gezondheid

CORVALLIS, OREGON – In ontwikkelde landen vinden de meeste mensen het de normaalste zaak van de wereld dat ze, wanneer ze ziek zijn, toegang hebben tot een tijdige diagnose en behandeling. Terwijl het diagnostische proces (dat normaal gesproken het sturen van een monster van bloed, urine of weefsel naar een laboratorium voor analyse inhoudt)  lastig en duur kan zijn, zijn werknemers in de gezondheidszorg en complexe laboratoria breed beschikbaar. Als resultaat hiervan is de overlast van ziekte in de Westerse wereld substantieel afgenomen.

In contrast hiermee, sterven in ontwikkelingslanden ieder jaar miljoenen mensen aan behandelbare ziekten als malaria, wat komt door een gebrek aan ontwikkelde laboratoria en alternatieve diagnostische testen. Maar er is reden tot hoop: ontwikkelingen op het gebied van micro fluïden hebben het potentieel om de gezondheidszorg om te vormen door de mogelijkheid om ‘gouden standaard’ laboratoriumtesten te verplaatsen naar de plek waar de zorg nodig is (‘Point of Care’ of te wel POC).

Een POC-test die een accuraat en tijdig resultaat oplevert zou een toegang tot diagnostiek voor onderbedeelde bevolkingen betekenen, wat eerdere behandeling makkelijker maakt en helpt tegen foutieve behandeling (het behandelen van een andere ziekte met dezelfde symptomen). Om aan hun potentieel te kunnen voldoen echter moeten POC-testen voldoen aan een breed spectrum aan factoren die gezondheidszorgtoepassingen beïnvloeden.

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