IT and Medical Science
At the TechCrunch disrupt in London yesterday (21 October 2014), there was a battle between 15 companies for the title TechCrunch Disrupt Europe 2014 Battlefield winner, the highly coveted Disrupt Cup and last but not least; £30.000,-. The winner of this competition is Creat.IO, a new breed of database to serve today’s huge amount of data needs, but this isn’t the company that I want to talk about. Among the finalists of the competition was also another very interesting start-up. The presentation of this company began with the following sentence: “What if we told you we could save 1.000.000 lives every year, with just refrigerator magnets and a laser pointer?”.
The name of the company is Disease Diagnostic Group (DGC) and they are developing the Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM) device. It’s a cheap, efficient, portable and accurate device to diagnose malaria according to John Lewandowski, the founder and CEO of DGC. Malaria affects 3.300.000.00 people and $12 billion is spent or lost on it every year. In small villages in Africa people now have to walk two miles to test if they have malaria or not, and even by the local doctor it is hard to test on this disease. That’s why malaria is a $12 billion problem because if someone get’s misdiagnosed, didn’t get treated, get’s back to his/her village and infects his friends and family the consequences are huge.
Malaria parasites release a magnetic biomarker, which can be traced with a magnetic field. RAM is portable and also very accurate in detect the infection. Patients just take a little blood sample, put it into the RAM box and device will present the results within seconds. It shows not only if the patient has Malaria, but also how large the infection is, corresponding with the amount of treatment. RAM is also able to store a patient database with different patient id numbers. Thus, it is also able to track the disease of specific patient over time. This RAM device is, in my opinion, a good example of how IT Development can contribute to not only to the quality of life and to the medical science.