- Nearly 1 – 1.15 lakh children in India get affected by TB every year. Thousands of cases go unmissed as the testing is not child friendly. Current sample collection methods are painful, time consuming and inconvenient
- First-of-its-kind sample collection device to be developed by 221B Biomedical Pvt. Ltd. with grant and support from India Health Fund, a Tata Trusts initiative.
- The flavoured low-cost device will require children to simply chew and blow or cough for easy and safe sample collection of oral fluids
- The innovation will make testing simpler and will likely increase testing and treatment rates, lower mortality and infection transmission due to TB
December 13, 2022, Mumbai: India Health Fund (IHF), a Tata Trusts initiative, today announced its funding and support for a first-of-its-kind lollipop- and chewing gum-inspired sputum collection device for testing tuberculosis (TB) among children. Being developed by 221B Biomedical Pvt. Ltd., and christened ‘Blow-Pop’, it will help address lakhs of under-, mis- and delayed diagnosed cases of TB among children. The unique child-friendly sample collection device is expected to be ready for roll-out over the next two years.
Every year, 1-1.15 lakh children get affected by TB in India. Of these, 96% of deaths, among paediatric TB patients, are due to a lack of bacteriologic confirmation and early treatment. These missed cases not only contribute to higher mortality but also increased transmission of infection in communities. Exacerbating this, are current sample collection methods, which are time-consuming, painful and inconvenient for children and often need the expertise of healthcare workers.
Addressing this unmet need and keeping children at the heart of the innovation, India Health Fund’s latest grant to 221B Biomedical will pave the way for development and clinical validation of 221B Biomedical’s simulated method. The innovation is a low-cost device that will improve the safety, efficacy, and ease of sputum collection for TB in children. Inspired from a lollipop, and chewing gum user experience, the conch-shaped device needs children to simply chew and blow or cough for easy sample collection of oral fluids. Moreover, owing to its simplicity, the tool will be ideal for low-resource settings, including primary healthcare setups. While this tool will be developed initially keeping children in mind, a similar product can be used among adults too, and its development and deployment will be explored.
“Today’s announcement brings fresh hope for thousands of children who are missing out on TB testing because sample collection is not child friendly,” said Madhav Joshi, CEO, India Health Fund. “Making the testing process simpler and pain-free will increase rates of testing and diagnosis, leading to fast-tracked treatment initiation and preventing unnecessary deaths in children. Moreover, it will also reduce expenditure for patients and health systems alike.”
He further added, “Accessibility and high impact potential is a key feature that is common to all innovations funded and supported by the India Health Fund because an innovation is only as powerful as it is accessible.”
“Innovating while keeping children at the center of our work is likely to bring smiles for lakhs of little ones and their caregivers. The power of this innovation lies not only in its affordability, safety, speed and convenience for children, but also in its compatibility and complimentary to existing diagnostic setups at minimal costs,” said Dr. Vivek Manoharan founder & CEO, 221B Biomedical Pvt. Ltd., India
221B Biomedical Private Limited (221B) aims to simplify medical diagnostics for easy and convenient home-based testing experience with its proprietary, scientific and innovative technologies. 221B aspires towards a diagnostics first approach, while proactively anticipating and preventing diseases in an effort towards progressing the UN sustainable development goal (SDGs) on health and well-being. 221B is an associate of Test At Home Private Limited, Singapore, an Antler portfolio company, supported by National University of Singapore and UNLEASH global innovation lab for SDGs. 221B is founded by a duo of a biomedical engineer scientist and a medical doctor: Dr. Vivek Manoharan (BEng, MS, PhD) & Dr. Terence Tan (MBBS, GDFM, GDOM)
For further details, please contact:
India Health Fund