Diagnósticos para a saúde mundial

CORVALLIS, OREGON – Nos países desenvolvidos, a maioria das pessoas tomam por garantido, quando estão doentes, que terão acesso a um diagnóstico e a um tratamento atempados. De facto, embora o processo de diagnóstico - que tipicamente envolve o envio de uma amostra de sangue, de urina ou de tecidos para um laboratório para análise - possa ser incómodo e dispendioso, os prestadores de cuidados de saúde e os laboratórios sofisticados permanecem largamente disponíveis. Como resultado, o peso da doença no mundo desenvolvido tem diminuído substancialmente.

Por outro lado, no mundo em desenvolvimento, milhões de pessoas morrem todos os anos de doenças tratáveis, como a malária, devido à falta de laboratórios sofisticados e de testes diagnóstico alternativos. Mas há razões para ter esperança: os avanços no campo dos microfluídicos têm o potencial de transformar a saúde, ao permitirem que o teste de laboratório “gold standard” seja transferido para o ponto de cuidado (POC).

Um teste POC que forneça um resultado preciso e oportuno daria acesso ao diagnóstico às populações carentes, possibilitando um tratamento mais precoce e ajudando a evitar tratamentos incorrectos (tratar outra doença com sintomas semelhantes). A fim de cumprirem o seu potencial, no entanto, os testes POC devem ter em conta a ampla gama de factores que afectam as aplicações dos cuidados de saúde.

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