Rebecca Traub receives Bill & Melinda Gates grant for groundbreaking global health research

Congratulations to Associate Professor Rebecca Traub, whose new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded research is expected to improve access to diagnosis in remote areas of developing countries at low cost.

She and Professor Mathirut Mungthin from the Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Thailand received a Grand Challenges Explorations grant for their project “Accurate diagnosis of parasites in fixed stool,” which is expected to improve epidemiology, diagnosis and control of soil-transmitted helminths, protozoa and food-borne parasites in developing communities.

Currently, samples for diagnosis must either be tested on-site by specialist staff or refrigerated for transport to central laboratories, translating to increased costs and limited diagnostic capabilities in many communities most at risk from these parasites.

The technology being tested in this project could allow local medical staff to take samples and send them to central laboratories via conventional transport, where they could be tested with both basic and the most advanced diagnostic techniques available.

“Around a billion people worldwide suffer gastrointestinal parasite infections, including roundworm, whipworm and hookworm,” said Associate Professor Traub.

“These, and many other gastrointestinal parasites can cause illnesses including diarrhoea, anaemia and impaired cognitive and physical development in children.”

The project aims to greatly improve the surveillance of soil-transmitted and food-borne parasitic infections that affect some of the most resource-poor and remote communities in the world by allowing stool samples to be preserved and transported to centralized diagnostic facilities in a simple and cost-effective manner.

Learn more about Grand Challenges Explorations here.

Read more at The Melbourne Newsroom.