What problem are you trying to solve?
Malaria is an enormous public health challenge worldwide, hitting the lowest income countries hardest. It is endemic in 130 countries of the world and is responsible for an estimated 300-600 million cases and 1-2 million deaths per year. The diagnosis of malaria remains a major challenge in low-income countries. All available screening tests require a blood sample, meaning that they are invasive and expensive.
Microscopy (which is the gold-standard accurate for malaria diagnosis) requires the availability of laboratories with reasonably high-resolution microscopes and highly skilled laboratory staff. These are a rarity in the health facilities closest to the communities in low-income countries, where acute shortages of staff and low access to health facilities are perennial problems. Rapid diagnostic tests, on the other hand, are expensive and also require a blood sample. Tests that require blood samples use up a lot of sundries including lancets, cotton swabs, blood slides, laboratory.
What is your solution to this problem?
Matibabu innovation is based on the research and innovation of creating a non-invasive technology for diagnosis of diseases specifically malaria using light scattering and magnetism. The Matibabu system’s working principle is based on the measurement of the orthogonal light polarization components generated in a magnetically active sample, as is the case of blood infected by malaria. The concentration of infected red blood cells (the paramagnetic Hemozoin crystals) is proportional to the intensity of the newly generated light plane. Currently, the technology is undergoing controlled tests and soon starting clinical trials targeting a 90% plus accuracy in comparison to the existing tests. By the end of the clinical trials, the technology will be ready for mass production.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
Since inception, matibabu has undergone several iterations to better refine the product towards developing a market-ready version. In the first generation of prototyping, we were trying to understand how light can easily penetrate the skin and red blood cells but there was a lot of external interference which led us to our second prototype where we addressed the issue of external interference but there were no conclusive results. We then moved onto the third generational prototype where we re-engineered the pulse oximeter. The team further developed the optic magnetic device that encompassed all the techniques of electrical impedance, magnetism & light sensors. A test accuracy of 80% was obtained from different sample tests and, transitioned to device development of the hybrid of the Magnetic-Optic Technology and Electro-Impedance Technology. Currently, the technology is undergoing controlled tests and soon starting clinical trials targeting a 90% plus accuracy.