An all-in-one-test for all infectious diseases: it’s the dream of the Tuberculosis Foundation. With a recent contribution of 11 million euros of the Dream Fund, the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation in the Netherlands will work towards the worldwide introduction of this pocket-size super test.
With this grant the Tuberculosis Foundation can invest in developing a smart and simple test that diagnoses all infectious diseases and their resistances in one go. It is investigating if an existing device, currently being used for some diseases, could be used to detect all infectious diseases. Including corona.
This Never-again-a-pandemic project is funded for 11 million euros by the Dream Fund of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, founded in 1989 by Novamedia.
Courageous funding philosophy
Novamedia believes it is necessary to actively look for innovative and daring ways to solve global and local challenges. This is how we define courage and why it is one of our core values.
The Dream Fund enables organisations to start something that would otherwise never get off the ground. The support for the innovation of the pocket-size super test can be seen as an example of the courageous funding philosophy
Pocket-sized test kit
A pocket-sized test kit and a laptop could be enough to test someone with disease symptoms all over the world in one go for any infectious disease with a known genetic profile. “This allows us to identify new and existing diseases and prevent their spread and their dire consequences,” said Mustapha Gidado, director of the Tuberculosis Foundation.
It’s an innovative project: if the test device succeeds, it will make other tests unnecessary, Gidado thinks.
Bold innovation and the guts to take some risks, it’s key in this project. Novamedia and its Postcode Lotteries like to work with partners that dare to be disruptive in order to make a change. It’s all about working with partners who are honest about the risks and willing to try.
The device is already in use in laboratories around the world. So it is certain it works. In the Netherlands it is mainly used for the diagnosis of rare metabolic diseases, in cancer research and in the search for the right donor for the right patient. In Tanzania it has already been used in research on animal diseases such as swine flu.
Until now, this innovative test is not widely used for diagnosing patients in patient care. The Tuberculosis Foundation wants to change that. It would be a huge improvement, especially in poor countries where the possibilities for adequate and rapid diagnostics are limited. Until now, many people have received incorrect diagnoses and wrong treatments as a result.
The goal is to test around 130,000 people with health problems over a five-year period in the Netherlands, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam. About 25,000 people are being tested for covid-19 and other viral infections and 25,000 people for bacterial infections.
A further 35,000 people whose it is unclear what they are suffering from are being widely tested. This way of diagnosing patients early is intended to hopefully nip pandemics in the bud in the future. Another group of 45,000 people will be specifically tested for drug resistance, insensitivity to antivirals, antibiotics or other agents against infections.
What is courageous funding?
For Novamedia/Postcode Lotteries courageous funding means:
- Entering into long-term partnerships with our beneficiaries and trusting them to spend the money where it is most needed.
- Daring to enable organisations to start something that would otherwise never get off the ground or even before the problem and all possible solutions are exhaustively mapped out in an effort to have as little (financial) risk as possible. There’s often no time for that.
- Supporting organisations and themes that sometimes trigger resistance, are politically sensitive or generate debate in society (or certain sections of society) because vested interests often need to make way when it comes to change in society.