AutoTB: audience favorite Global Entrepreneurship Competition
The magnitude of the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic is immense – more than one third of the world’s population is currently infected. There are nearly 9 million new TB cases annually and five thousand deaths every day. Sputum microscopy is the most common test currently used to diagnose TB, but it only detects roughly 20-30% of all pulmonary TB cases. Improved diagnostics are crucial for combating this growing epidemic.
AutoTB is dedicated to improving the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of sputum microscopy, while remaining inexpensive and accessible to healthcare professionals in developing countries. The AutoTB device automates sputum microscopy, thereby decreasing analysis time, increasing sensitivity and eliminating human error present in current procedures while also integrating into existing infrastructures and remaining affordable for developing countries. AutoTB provides a clear advantage – a simple, rapid, automated, sensitive, and inexpensive TB diagnostic test.
The medical and economic benefits of this device provide a competitive advantage over existing technologies and make it marketable to a wide range of customers including NGOs, governmental health departments, and private foundations. AutoTB will initially target high-burden TB countries in the developing world and will capture a significant portion of the $1 billion global market for TB diagnostics.
In the long-term, AutoTB will expand into other bacterial infections (e.g. malaria) and will provide a robust point-of-care diagnostics platform that can be applied to both developing and developed world markets. AutoTB addresses a clear, unmet and growing market need while also providing an opportunity for future diversification and growth.