Harriet impressed the judges at a Dragon’s Den event on 7th March with her idea to revolutionise tuberculosis (TB) testing. She was awarded £5,000 as well as the Audience Choice video award of £500.
TB ranks jointly with HIV, as a leading cause of death worldwide, due to an infectious disease. Despite the need for early accurate testing to treat the disease and prevent new infections, there is not a current test that is quick, easy to use and affordable. Harriet’s proposal uses nanomaterials to detect unique genetic barcodes for TB in the blood, which would enable earlier treatment and prevent further transmission.
Of winning the award, Harriet said:
“Winning is an amazing feeling and I am so glad I applied. The competition has helped me to think about how my work will fit into a real world context. The prize money will help me develop a prototype for my TB diagnostics test, which I hope will lead to transforming TB diagnostics worldwide. I am very grateful to IGHI and Imperial for the opportunity to be involved with the competition.”
The IGHI competition, which is now in its fourth year, provides a platform for UK-based students to showcase their global health research ideas and secure funding to develop it to the next stage.
The finalists pitched their ideas to three expert judges – Dr Richard Smith (IGHI Adjunct Professor, Chairman of Patients Know Best, Director of the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative, former Editor of the British Medical Journal and Chief Executive of the BMJ Publishing Group), Nicole Mather (Director of the Office for Life Sciences, Department of Health and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and Dr Maina Bhaman, (Director of Healthcare Ventures at Imperial Innovations).