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research-article

A robust incubator to improve access to microbiological culture in low resource environments

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew Miller

Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, Bellevue, WA, United States of America
andymiller@gmail.com

Simon Ghionea

Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, Bellevue, WA, United States of America
sghionea@intven.com

Manivanh Vongsouvath

Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU), Microbiology Laboratory, Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Manivanh@tropmedres.ac

Viengmon Davong

Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU), Microbiology Laboratory, Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Viengmon@tropmedres.ac

Mayfong Mayxay

Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU), Microbiology Laboratory, Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic; Centre for Tropical Medicine & Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK; Faculty of Post Graduate Studies, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic
mayfong@tropmedres.ac

Akos Somoskovi

Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, Bellevue, WA, United States of America
asomoskovi@intven.com

Paul Newton

Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU), Microbiology Laboratory, Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic; Centre for Tropical Medicine & Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK
Paul.Newton@tropmedres.ac

David Bell

Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, Bellevue, WA, United States of America
dbell@intven.com

Michael Friend

Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, Bellevue, WA, United States of America
mfriend@intven.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4042206 History: Received August 06, 2018; Revised November 06, 2018

Abstract

To help address the limitations of operating conventional microbiological culture incubators in low resource environments, a new incubator design was developed and tested to meet the requirements of operation in laboratories without reliable power (power outages up to 12 contiguous hours) or climate control (ambient indoor temperatures from 5 °C to 45 °C). The device is designed to enable adherence to incubation temperatures recommended for growth detection, identification and drug susceptibility testing of human pathogenic bacteria. During power outages, stable temperatures are maintained in the device's internal sample compartment by employing phase change material (PCM) as a bi-directional thermal battery to maintain incubation temperature. Five prototypes were tested in a laboratory setting using environmental test chambers and programmable power supplies, and three were field tested in the Lao PDR in situations of intended use. The prototypes successfully held their temperature to within +/- 1 °C in both laboratory environmental chamber testing as well as during the field test. The results indicate that the device will maintain stable culture temperatures across periods of intermittent power supply, while enabling normal workflow This could greatly increase the availability of microbiological culture for diagnosis and antimicrobial resistance monitoring.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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