Antibiotic resistance: Inside MSF's innovative Mini-Lab Project
In a complex medical emergency, fast and effective laboratory support is vital to saving lives. This is no different in a humanitarian crisis.
Now, the Mini-Lab Project has developed a solution to help medical staff working in places with limited resources as they face a dangerous and growing problem: antibiotic resistance.
Established by Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the project team have designed and built a mobile clinical bacteriology lab that is affordable, transportable and able to provide all-in-one support to the places where MSF works.
Once set up, a Mini-Lab team can identify the exact bacteria causing a patient's infection as well as the antibiotics it is resistant to – ultimately saving lives from otherwise deadly or debilitating conditions.
The Mini-Lab, explained:
- The Mini-Lab is transported in just six boxes that are impact-resistant and designed to be moved via truck or plane
- It takes two days to set up and requires only 20 square metres of space
- The unit includes lab machines and equipment, documentation and training tools as well as IT and data management resources
- Each box transforms into a bench that has integrated lighting and is resistant to heat and corrosion
- The Mini-Lab can process up to 20 samples per day
- It is staffed by one supervisor and two technicians with remote support from a team in Paris
MSF is also planning for the concept to be made available to other healthcare organisations working in similar humanitarian environments.