Infectious diseases have a range of negative effects on both global health and public safety, accounting for more than 13 million deaths per year. Every hour, 1,500 people die directly or indirectly from an infectious disease. More than half of those losing their lives to infectious disease are children under the age of 5, with the remaining casualties predominantly working-age adults. The need to rapidly and accurately diagnose or predict infection is clear.
Threats posed by infectious pathogens are evident and growing, coming from diseases in the diverse environments in which we live. They also present as novel emerging outbreaks, illustrated by the 2003 SARS epidemic and the 2009 H1N1 (“swine flu”) outbreak, as well as through intentional releases such as the 2001 anthrax attacks. We must rapidly develop and deploy solutions to protect the world from these threats as soon as possible. A prize could help operate breakthroughs in our ability to accurately and quickly diagnose or predict such outbreaks or attacks which can save millions of lives.
The winning team will develop a device capable of quickly and accurately assessing a specific virus or bacteria pathogen from a known panel of 20 infectious agents. The diagnostic device must also be able to ascertain the extent of the pathogen exposure and determine if medical treatment is necessary. Additionally, it should identify if an infectious agent is transmissible to humans. The device should include sample preservation and storage for subsequent confirmatory analyses.
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