In a Policy Forum article in this week's PLOS Medicine Madhukar Pai from McGill University, Canada and colleagues discuss a framework for how point-of-care testing can be applied to infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries. The authors note that a range of barriers exist to prevent successful use of point-of-care testing and that the availability alone of rapid or simple tests does not automatically ensure their adoption or scale-up. The authors describe a framework that envisions point-of-care testing as a spectrum of technologies (simplest to more sophisticated), users (lay persons to highly trained) and settings (homes, communities, clinics, peripheral laboratories, and hospitals). The article also emphasizes that technology as such does not define a point-of-care tests and that in order to successfully scale-up point-of-care testing the focus should be on point-of-care programs rather than the technology itself.
Funding: NPP and MP are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (grant OPP1061487), Grand Challenges Canada (Canadian Rising Stars in Global Health grants) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (grants MOP-89918 & HBF-103210). MP is also supported by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP - TBNEAT grant) and the Fonds de recherche du Quebec – Sante (FRQS). The funders had no role in the analysis of data and decision to publish.
Competing Interests: No financial or industry conflicts. MP serves as a consultant for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. BMGF had no involvement in this manuscript. NPP is an Academic Editor with PLOS ONE. MP is on the editorial boards of PLOS ONE and PLOS Medicine. The other authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Citation: Pai NP, Vadnais C, Denkinger C, Engel N, Pai M (2012) Point-of-Care Testing for Infectious Diseases: Diversity, Complexity, and Barriers in Low- And Middle-Income Countries. PLoS Med 9(9): e1001306. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001306
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
McGill University, Montreal, Canada
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