The foundation's first product is the HIV test and its first client is an international global health foundation. Mozambique is the first of 10 countries in which the health foundation will facilitate, in partnership with local governments, an evaluation of the test.
"The Northwestern Global Health Foundation is a new sort of business: a nonprofit biotech company that helps manufacture and deliver health care products that wouldn't turn enough profit to be attractive to traditional companies," Kelso said. "If the foundation works, I think it's an entirely new way to do business."
Making sure the technology that comes out of the lab actually makes it to the market is the goal, said Kara Palamountain, president of the foundation and executive director of the Global Health Initiative at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.
Palamountain and Swati Satish, who received her master's degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern in June, were recently in Mozambique training clinicians on how to the use the p24 test.
For Palamountain, visiting rural clinics where nurses see hundreds of patients a day for little money is motivation enough. "For me it's a responsibility to make sure that others have access to health care," she said. "The disparity between the haves and the have-nots really makes me want to do something about it."
The new diagnostic first will be independently evaluated in five clinics across the Mozambican capital, testing infants born to HIV-positive mothers. If this first phase in the Maputo clinics goes well, a second evaluation will be conducted in more rural clinics in Mozambique.
"We won't be successful until we show this test helps save the lives of infants," Kelso said of the long journey delivering the foundation's first product, "but we are getting very close."
The easy-to-use test has a 95 percen
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