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Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.

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Challenges: Global Health Solutions
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Move the World to Protect and Empower Victims of Sexual Violence

Amanda Nguyen, Rise Inc. (Washington, District of Columbia, United States)
Sep 23, 2018
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Amanda Nguyen of Rise International in the U.S. will scale-up the existing grassroots social justice movement that they have established in the U.S. to create actionable recommendations to support the rights of survivors of sexual violence worldwide. Thirty-five percent of women – 1.3 billion people worldwide – are survivors of sexual assault, but many are denied basic rights and access to justice. Rise International’s approach involves communicating survivor stories, building alliances with influential people, and maximizing visibility through media coverage.

Accurate Diagnosis of Parasites in Fixed Stool

Rebecca Traub, University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Rebecca Traub of the University of Melbourne in Australia will develop a method to preserve fresh stool so that it can be transported over longer distances to central laboratories and used to diagnose intestinal parasites and monitor the different types. They will test two types of preservation, a 5% weight/volume potassium dichromate solution and 10% formalin, on the accuracy of identifying three different types of helminth eggs in fecal samples from infected individuals in Thailand over 120 days.

An Optimized Medium BMX for Preservation of Fecal Samples

Thomas Egwang, Med Biotech Laboratories (Kampala, Uganda)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Thomas Egwang of Med Biotech Laboratories in Uganda will develop a reformulated medium derived from mammalian cell culture medium that is optimized for storage and preservation of stool-derived helminth eggs. Diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminth infections, which cause considerable morbidity in developing countries, involves microscopic examination of fecal samples. The accuracy of these methods depends on how well the sample has been preserved since collection. They will use a classical diagnostic test to evaluate a selection of cell culture media in combination with different preservatives for preserving hookworm eggs at different temperatures for up to 14 days. The best combination will be deconstructed into its chemical ingredients and reformulated from scratch, and tested in the laboratory and in the field.

Evaluation of New Alternatives to Increase the Accuracy of the Determination of Cause of Death

Paulo Saldiva, Institute of Advanced Studies - University of São Paulo (São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Paulo Saldiva of the University of São Paolo in Brazil will develop minimally invasive autopsies as a method combining body imaging with needle puncture of the skin to sample tissue to more accurately determine the cause of death that can also be used in low-resource settings. Knowing the cause of each death is critical for developing effective health policies to prevent avoidable deaths such as those from infectious diseases. However, families are often unwilling to authorize a full autopsy, and they require trained physicians, which makes them less common in developing countries, leaving many deaths with unknown causes. They will perform minimally invasive autopsies to determine the cause of death for 1000 adult patients, including comparing the value of imaging via computerized tomography scanning versus ultrasound, and collect needle biopsies. The same patients will also undergo a conventional autopsy to assess the accuracy of their approach.

Low-Cost Nucleic Acid Diagnostics Based on Cell-Free Systems

Alexander Green, Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona, United States)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Alexander Green of Arizona State University in the U.S. and Keith Pardee of the University of Toronto in Canada will develop molecular technologies, hosted by cell-free systems embedded into paper, to create point-of-care diagnostics for multiple diseases at low-costs. These sensitive and specific diagnostics will remain active without refrigeration for one year, and have been demonstrated in proof-of-concept tests with the Zika virus.

Origami Diagnostics to Accelerate Malaria Elimination

David Wright, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee, United States)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

David Wright of Vanderbilt University in the U.S. will develop a diagnostic that combines sample concentration and multiplex detection into one rapid test that can detect the low levels of the malaria parasite in asymptomatic patients. They will develop a vertical flow component to accommodate larger sample volumes, which will increase the sensitivity of the adjacent lateral flow assay. They will mark the position of a fold on the diagnostic for delivering the isolated biomarkers on one side to the lateral flow assay on the other, which will then present the results using colored lines. They will test their diagnostic against the best commercially available test.

Point-of-Collection Silica-Coating and Preservation of Stool

Kenneth Stedman, Portland State University (Portland, Oregon, United States)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Kenneth Stedman of Portland State University in the U.S. will test a low-cost and simple method for simultaneously collecting and stabilizing stool samples that can be used for diagnosing helminth infections in remote locations. The samples allow quantification of eggs from the helminth parasite, which causes intestinal infections that are endemic in many developing regions, and will help monitor large-scale treatment efforts. The method is based on his vaccine-stabilization technology, which was developed along with James Laidler at Portland State University.

Portable System for Ultra-Sensitive Viral Load Detection

Charlie Johnson, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, United States)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Charlie Johnson of the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S. will develop a diagnostic platform that uses magnetic nanopore filters and a simple nucleic-acid detection system in an integrated miniaturized device to diagnose infectious diseases such as HIV from a variety of human samples. The diagnostic will consist of 15nm pores etched onto thin polycarbonate films that can trap individual viruses, label them with magnetic particles, and concentrate them with a magnetic field. They will develop this approach for isolating HIV particles from blood, and design graphene sensors that bind target nucleic acids with enhanced sensitivity. These two components will then be integrated into a diagnostic device.

Rapid and Low-Cost Saliva-Based Paper Diagnostic for Malaria

Ricky Chiu, Phase Diagnostics, Inc (Santa Ana, California, United States)
Nov 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Ricky Chiu of Phase Diagnostics Inc. in the U.S. will develop a new paper-based oral diagnostic device with high accuracy that can rapidly concentrate and detect malaria biomarkers without needing any power, equipment or personnel training. This will overcome the risks and difficulties involved with finger-prick blood collection, and the lack of sensitivity of current rapid diagnostic tests. It will enable the detection of malaria cases in regions with low densities of infection, and ultimately help eliminate malaria from these regions.

A Cheap and Useful Kit for Malaria Diagnosis in Saliva

Oscar Noya, Instituto de Medicina Tropical, UCV (Caracas, Venezuela)
May 1, 2016
Grand Challenges Explorations> Global Health Solutions

Oscar Noya at the Instituto de Medicina Tropical in Venezuela will develop a simple, low-cost test based on the detection of parasite antigens that can be used to diagnose malaria in low-resource settings. They have developed a multi-antigen blot assay that can diagnose 26 diseases at the same time using saliva or small volumes of blood at low cost without the need for specialized equipment. They will use bioinformatics tools to select synthetic peptides from the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and from other common pathogens such as HIV and dengue virus. The synthesized peptides will be spotted on cellulose paper and tested for their ability to detect the corresponding disease from sera and saliva samples taken from at-risk populations.

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