Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents

Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents

The Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents (DIIA) Innovation Platform will see investment from the Technology Strategy Board and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) of up to £55 million over five years in innovative research and development into diagnostic tests that will help to reduce the number of deaths and cases of illness caused by infectious diseases, thereby reducing NHS expenditure on treating such diseases.

Infectious diseases are a constant threat to the health and wealth of the nation. In the UK approximately 10% of all deaths and 4% of all hospital admissions are attributed to infectious diseases, and 35% of GP consultations (50% in children) are due to an infection..

The Technology Strategy Board with the Department of Health and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are to bring the Government, business and researchers together in the initiative which addresses the challenge caused by the threat of infectious diseases.

The research and development to be funded by the new programme will be aimed at producing new rapid diagnostic tests and point-of-care (POC) devices for the detection and identification of infectious agents in both humans and animals. With infectious diseases accounting for over a fifth of human deaths globally, there is also likely to be significant global demand for state-of-the-art disease detection and identification technology.

The Department of Health and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) were closely involved in the establishment of the innovation platform, helping to establish the scale of the problem, the cost of not addressing it, the performance specifications and the potential market size - in the UK and worldwide - for the new technologies. Defra's interest in the initiative relates to the development of new technologies for the rapid diagnostic testing for notifiable and endemic diseases in animals.

The first competition, which opened in January 2010, was  split into three different project types: feasibility studies, fast track projects and larger collaborative R&D projects to support the development and uptake of diagnostic devices that will reduce the social and economic impact of infectious agents in humans and animals.

The Technology Strategy Board will invest up to £50m over five years, alongside the NIHR, which on behalf of the Department of Health, will invest up to £1m over the same period.


Last updated on Tuesday 21 September 2010 at 10:04

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