In a world challenged by evolving environmental conditions and rapid globalization, infectious diseases have seen a notable uptick. Zoonotic infections, like coronaviruses, avian flu, and swine flu, have highlighted the need for swift, accurate diagnostics.
An EU HORIZON funded project involving the University of Helsinki and multiple EU partners aims to establish strategies for the early detection and effective management of disease outbreaks.
The consortium’s project consists of four elements: mobile genomic sequencing, smartphone-based diagnostics, a comprehensive One Health platform and bioinformatics for field analysis.
Led by the University of Leipzig, the project aims to offer accessible and adaptable diagnostic solutions, empowering healthcare professionals and institutions to manage outbreaks more effectively. The total funding for the project is around €6 million, of which the University of Helsinki will receive just under €460 000.
Collaboration with Nairobi
The project includes close collaboration with the University of Nairobi, as it could potentially address Kenya's distinct healthcare challenges.
“The adaptability of the portable lab could significantly improve outbreak responses in remote, resource-limited areas, benefiting not only Kenya but also other African nations”, says Tarja Sironen, PI of this project at University of Helsinki.
Anticipated outcomes of the project include improved diagnostics capacity, enhanced outbreak control measures, a better understanding of infectious agents, and new tools for policymakers.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has unequivocally highlighted the pivotal role of swift and accurate diagnostics in managing infectious diseases. Our project endeavors to harness state-of-the-art technologies to provide solutions that are both timely and reliable, even within the most challenging environments," remarks Dr. Ravi Kant, a key member of the consortium and co-author of the grant.
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