South Africa

Lunch at the University of Pretoria with our wonderful host Steven Hussey and his group.

Lunch at the University of Pretoria with our wonderful host Steven Hussey and his group.

By Chun Man Chan

In February Chun Man, Emily, and Laura travelled to Pretoria and Johannesburg in South Africa to meet with experts and locals who might be able to help us co-develop and implement a cell-free paper based diagnostic technology.

We spoke with agricultural specialists and practitioners; environmental researchers specialising in soil and water contamination; a designer with expertise in implementing products for low-resource settings, and a research group who make microfluidic biosensors. From these discussions we took two key take-home messages.

Firstly, there is a lot of interest in developing these diagnostics for a range of applications in South Africa, not only across disciplines but also over industries tailored to different classes or regions. Secondly, the country is uniquely suited for co-developing the tests, since technical expertise exists alongside poverty stricken areas with serious unmet diagnostic needs.

We’d like to thank the GCRF for funding the trips, our hosts, the Synthetic biology SRI and CGE for all their support so far.