NTDs-POCT- Feasibility study for the development of a POCT diagnostic platform for detection of neglected tropical infections

Feasibility study for the development of a poct diagnostic platform for the detection of neglected tropical infections, initiated by Sara Martorell and developed by PhD. Luisa Hueso. This initiative is funded by the Valencian Agency for Innovation with file number INNTA2/2022/19 and by the European Union through the FEDER (European Regional Development Fund).

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect more than one billion people worldwide, are closely linked to poverty and are predominant in the Global South, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The lack of epidemiological control, diagnostics and treatment leads to a cycle of poverty and disease with severe health, social and economic consequences in these vulnerable societies. At the same time, the importation of these infections to non-tropical countries, due to population movements, high levels of migration and the effects of climate change, constitute a critical threat to global public health.

In response to this health need, the AVI-funded NTDs-POCT project aims to investigate the interdisciplinary field of point-of-care diagnostic platforms (POCTs) as powerful bioanalytical tools capable of providing an accessible diagnostic solution in endemic communities and regions. During the research, POCT biosensing platforms will be co-designed for the multi-analyte detection of several NTDs, prioritising those demanded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the global project Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: A road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021-2030. The research integrates relevant elements such as communication, empowerment, self-care and inclusive access to diagnostic tools for the population. These objectives are aligned with the Global Health EDCTP3 Initiative and the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To address such a challenge, the project involves the participation of NGOs, the Centre for Development Cooperation and researchers from the biosensors group of the UPV, teachers from the Faculty of Medicine of the UV, key actors and local researchers who will serve as a communication link with the communities. The ultimate goal of the results will be health equity in order to put an end to the postponement of poverty-related infectious diseases.