The diagnosis and discrimination of infectious diseases (such as leishmaniasis, dengue, malaria, HIV, chagas) in geographic regions with poor or low-density medical infrastructure is of high socioeconomic importance. While so-called "rapid in-vitro diagnostic (ivD) tests" for single diseases are already on the market, more complex analytical protocols are necessary to clearly identify a certain tropical disease AND to determine the status of the disease - the latter being crucial for proper treatment. Such complex analytical protocols would include liquid handling as well as sample preparation like transcription and amplification (PCR) of the virus` RNA (dengue, HIV) or the parasite (lechimaniasis, malaria, Chagas). These sample preparation steps are currently only available in laboratories and have not yet found their way in mass-producible, integrated point-of-care diagnostic tests.
Thus, the PodiTrodi project aims to overcome the draw-backs of current Point-of-Care tests by developing technologies for really integrated (but low-cost!) sample preparation. The prototype to be developed for this proof of concept will be an instrument that integrates the heterogeneous Microsystems (biosensors and microfluidics), control electronics, sensor read-out, human-machine interface, embedded processor and power supply, in a self-contained unit, suitable for point-of-care diagnosis of the diseases selected as first targets.
To achieve these challenging goals, PodiTrodi follows a multidimensional, multi-material system integration approach on four project "levels" (Heterogeneous System Integration, Instrumentation, Fabrication Infrastructure, Development Infrastructure). The Consortium comprises 8 partners from 5 European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Finland, Portugal) as well as 5 partners from Brazil (PodiTrodi-BR). They represent industry, research and academia and bring a range of complementary skills required for this multidisciplinary research project.