Burnet project nominated for Saving Lives at Birth award

Burnet Institute

25 July, 2014

A Burnet Institute-developed point-of-care test, which will rapidly and accurately diagnose active syphilis and allow for immediate treatment has been nominated for a ‘Saving Lives at Birth; Grand Challenge for Development’ Award.

The project was shortlisted from 500 applications worldwide.

Congenital syphilis is responsible for around 650,000 deaths in newborns each year and a quarter of all stillbirths worldwide

The project, led by Burnet Deputy Director and Head of the Diagnostics Development Laboratory, Associate Professor David Anderson said current ‘point-of-care’ tests used for antenatal screening detect anyone who has ever had syphilis, but can’t identify those mothers with active syphilis.

“So they rarely get the simple treatment that could prevent transmission to their unborn child,” Associate Professor Anderson explained.

“The new test that we have developed is specific for this active stage of infection, and we will further improve the test ahead of future validation studies in Kenya and in China.

“With our partners at Omega Diagnostics, we are then well placed to deliver this new life-saving test at large scale to antenatal services worldwide.”

This project combines Burnet’s expertise in developing the world’s first point-of-care test for active infection with hepatitis E virus - successfully used worldwide for many years – and Omega Diagnostics expertise with one of the leading syphilis tests that we will build upon with our new technology.

A collaboration between USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and DFID Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development aims to find the tools and approaches to help the mothers and newborns during their most vulnerable hours.

CLICK HERE to find our more and vote for our project for the People’s Choice.


Contact Details

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Burnet Institute

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