Vaccine checks are smartphone-enabled

Cambridge Consultants is working with Diagnostics For All to demonstrate a mobile phone application that can read a simple test for whether a child has been immunised. It enables real-time immunity tests with a stamp-sized square of paper and a mobile phone.

A swab from a child’s mouth can be applied to a paper-based diagnostic device – with the mobile phone then interrogating the device to discover the immunity status of the child. This data can be used locally to make a decision on the ground – and shared on a regional or national basis to inform vaccine delivery programmes.

Globally, one in five children does not receive even the most basic vaccines. As a result, an estimated 1.5 million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. The Decade of Vaccines Collaboration – an organisation composed of leading figures from the international vaccine community – says only evidence-based, country-led prioritisation and planning can extend the benefits of immunisation services to everyone. Diagnostics For All’s technology, in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants’ mobile phone application, has the potential to provide evidence of immunity status to all the stakeholders – from the patient and the community health worker, up to the national vaccine programme management. 

Marcus Lovell Smith, CEO of Diagnostics For All, said: “We needed a low-cost and portable device that could be used in conjunction with our assay to test immunisation in children. The ability to quickly and inexpensively test if a child has already been vaccinated will conserve resources and save many lives in countries around the world. The test is as simple as watching a spot on a postage-stamp-sized piece of paper change colour. By working with Cambridge Consultants, we were quickly able to demonstrate a simple and reliable method to analyse the results and transmit them using a mobile phone.”

David Chastain, programme manager at Cambridge Consultants, said: “The application of a smartphone to interpret and record this established low-cost diagnostic technology is ideal for developing countries, where mobile devices can transform healthcare delivery at the point of care. The goal of this project is to facilitate medical support in remote areas where there may be little or no access to medical facilities or trained doctors and nurses to administer the tests.”

Cambridge Consultants’ world-class engineering teams in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore design and develop cutting-edge medical devices and technologies for the world’s leading companies and innovative start-ups. The product development firm has a 50-year track record of helping clients get breakthrough products to market fast – from the creation of concepts through to commercialisation. Its work includes diagnostic, surgical and drug delivery devices as well as digital health technologies.

Diagnostics For All is a non-profit company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, creating innovative low-cost diagnostic solutions.

Cambridge Consultants will be demonstrating this latest diagnostic technology at the mHealth Summit, December 9-11, in Washington DC, USA, stand 918 – and at the 2014 International CES, January 7-10, in the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall 2, booth 26315.


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