Catalytic breakthroughs in detecting disease
The first step to treating a disease is knowing what it is. But in many parts of the world, health workers lack the tools to make an accurate diagnosis. Specialized equipment, trained personnel, and safe waste-disposal systems don’t exist. In these cases, wealthy-country tools just don’t fit.
Without diagnostic testing, health care workers have to rely on their evaluation of a patient’s symptoms to diagnose and treat illness—an imperfect method given the similarity of symptoms of many diseases. This lack of clarity puts individuals, communities, and the world in danger. Incorrect diagnosis costs lives, and ineffectively treated disease can become a starting point for epidemics.
Affordable, portable, and fast
Fortunately, there is an array of promising new tests in the pipeline—affordable, portable, easy-to-use diagnostics that are practical for even small, rural health centers. They deliver results the same day, sometimes in just minutes, and need little or no processing. Some are new takes on established technologies like the home pregnancy test. Others are exciting scientific advances.
PATH is at the forefront of this technology revolution, inventing and supporting the development of “point-of-care” diagnostic tests that will help patients get fast results and the right treatment every time. We develop and introduce fast, accurate diagnostic technologies to detect and track a range of diseases, including cervical cancer, diabetes, HIV, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, polio, tuberculosis, and more.
Photo: David Jacobs.