NEST 360, a Rice University-affiliated international team working to end preventable newborn deaths in Africa, got a boost when one of its life-saving neonatal technologies won funding support.
The winner, BiliSpec, a jaundice diagnostic device, won a validation grant at the seventh annual DevelopmentXChange event for Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development in Washington, D.C. on July 27. More than 500 projects applied for the grants and 15 were funded.
BiliSpec was developed by Rice 360 Institute for Global Health. The device won a grant for multisite clinical validation and development of plans for a national rollout at all Malawi government hospitals.
The technology is one component of a 17-piece neonatal package called NEST that aims to save the lives of 1 million babies per year in sub-Saharan Africa. NEST, short for Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies, is being designed specifically for African hospitals by an international team led by Rice 360 director Rebecca Richards-Kortum. NEST 360 is one of eight semifinalists for the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million 100&Change grant, which will be awarded later this year to a single proposal that promises to make measurable progress toward solving one of the world’s significant problems.
BiliSpec is a low-cost, battery-powered reader designed to diagnose jaundice by immediately quantifying serum bilirubin levels from a small drop of whole blood. Jaundice, the buildup of bilirubin in the bloodstream, can be deadly if untreated, and most jaundice tests require either disposable test equipment or laboratory equipment like centrifuges or spectrophotometers that many African hospitals cannot afford.
BiliSpec was invented in 2014 and won a seed grant from Saving Lives at Birth in 2015. The new grant will support a large-scale, multi-site clinical trial to validate the accuracy of the device, the development of manufacturing capacity in Malawi for test strips and the development of plans for wide-scale implementation of BiliSpec throughout Malawi.
Grants from Saving Lives at Birth were critical in the development of three other NEST components. Kasupe, a low-cost, rugged syringe pump, won an 18-month clinical validation grant in 2016, BreathAlert, a simple device to detect and correct apnea of prematurity won a two-year seed grant in 2015, and Pumani, a rugged, low-cost respiratory device, won a seed grant in 2011 and a transition-to-scale grant in 2012 and is now used in more than 30 countries.
Richards-Kortum is leading a NEST 360 team that includes physicians, engineers and business and entrepreneurial experts from three continents. About 85 percent of newborn deaths in Africa could be prevented with relatively simple technologies that keep babies warm, help them breathe and help doctors diagnose and manage infections and other conditions. NEST 360 is designed specifically to address these conditions.
Saving Lives at Birth is a joint undertaking by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
.@MethodistHosp San Jacinto Hospital celebrated the groundbreaking for the expansion of the Emergency Department. https://t.co/6JgaAAMLhQ
Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital celebrated the groundbreaking for the expansion of the Emergency Department. The expansion will further enhance the range...
Radiation physicist: “We’re here because cancer has touched us, and we just want to get back at it."… https://t.co/bnu0cwtaUN
.@MethodistHosp Research Institute president was appointed to Pope Francis’ Pontifical Academy for Life. Learn more… https://t.co/vc2cWCcJPh
Texas A&M University Health Science CenterTAMUhealthsciences
“Repurposing already-approved blood pressure drugs, in combination with gene therapy, may be the best approach, but there's still more work to be done."
More Veterans reached with services, supplies through partnership https://t.co/tpaQXw6RPO via #VAntagePoint
University of Houston@UHouston
RT @UHCougarFB: One in... Congrats @Roberts_52! #HTownTakeover https://t.co/WUPjq1Fxqk
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Henry Filipowicz https://t.co/3TWjDcNATj #ArmyVet
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Henry Filipowicz. Henry served in World War II and the Korean War. He enlisted in 1942 as an infantryman and fought in...
Vietnam War Veteran sets up memorial for friends along California highway https://t.co/XAFkqUcv5U via @FoxNews
Why BRCA1 carrier Linda Phetphongsy underwent a double mastectomy & #breastreconstruction https://t.co/64Rw0Xdt4B… https://t.co/z4tIJ1LjU6
Our researchers are conducting hundreds of clinical trials. Explore the volunteer opportunities available.… https://t.co/dHM3tXEX7x
Baylor College of MedicineBaylorCollegeOfMedicine
Get your flu questions answered by our experts! http://bit.ly/2DkrEAn #flu
MD Anderson Cancer CenterMDAnderson
Did you know that some cancer treatments can cause changes to your skin? Sometimes these changes are simply cosmetic, but other times they may require attention...
Our expert on #laryngectomy: “It may take a little more effort, but you can communicate effectively.”… https://t.co/cHEdVnGbO2