COR-NTD Innovation Lab

Materials from the Innovation Lab, an interactive session at the 2016 Meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD)


1. Backpack PCR: A Mobile, Field-Friendly Platform for DNA-Based Screening of Mosquitoes and Human Blood Samples

Presenter: Nils Pilotte and Steven A. Williams, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts

The Backpack PCR system is a mobile platform for easy and rapid DNA-based screening of mosquitoes and blood samples.  New advances in PCR technology have resulted in a  miniPCRTM instrument that weighs less than 1 lb. and can be operated with a small solar cell and a smart phone.  In order for the system to be truly portable and field-friendly, we have developed a DNA isolation method that requires only sodium hydroxide, Tris buffer and a tiny mini-centrifuge.  DNA isolation for 12 samples can be done in 20 minutes.  The amplification of the target DNA is accomplished using standard PCR reagents and the miniPCRTM unit and takes 60 minutes.  Finally, detection is accomplished using test strips that provide excellent sensitivity, uses no equipment and takes 17 minutes.  Thus, the entire operation for 12 samples takes less than 100 minutes and requires only micro-pipettors, plastic tips and tubes, a mini-centrifuge, a mini-vortex mixer and the miniPCRTM unit.  Our immediate plans are to demonstrate the utility of this method in screening pools of mosquito vectors for lymphatic filariasis in the field.  Screening pools of mosquitoes enables a single technician to screen over 1000 mosquitoes in a single day.


2. Supervisor's Coverage Tool

Presenter: Uzoma Nwankwo, Health Economist and Senior Medical Officer, National Neglected Tropical Disease Control and Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria

The Supervisor's Coverage Tool (SCT, formerly the Coverage Supervision Tool) is a rapid in-process monitoring tool designed to improve coverage during the current round of mass drug administration within a given supervisory area.  The SCT has also been shown to be a useful supervisory tool for first-level supervisors and community drug distributors. Access the tool at



Presenter: Rachel Pullan, Assistant Professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is an online NTD mapping tool that enables users to visualise and manipulate geographic data on NTDs. It has been developed by a consortium of research and programme partners to meet the needs of national programmes and international partners when planning integrated NTD programmes.


4. LoaScope: A Mobile-based Video Microscope for Point-of-Care Quantification of Loa loa (and other blood-borne parasites)

Presenter: Tom Nutman, Head, Helminth Immunology Section and Head, Clinical Parasitology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

LoaScope – is a mobile phone-based digital video microscope developed for the point of care quantification of Loa loa microfilariae in human blood.  Using disposable rectangular capillaries that obviate the need for sample processing, the LoaScope quantifies the microfilarial levels within 2 minutes of obtaining the blood sample, allowing for MDA-treatment decisions (ivermectin yes/no) on the spot.   It has also been used successfully as part of Loa mapping exercises in several counties in Central and West Africa.


5 - 6. Point-of-care Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis

Presenters: Roger Peck, Allison Golden and Kerry Gallo, PATH

Three novel diagnostic tests are now commercially available to support surveillance and decision-making on mass drug administration for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. The tests will be available for learning and demonstration, along with a suite of quality assurance materials developed to support test use in the field. For more information, visit:


7. Using Cloud Software to Enhance Collaboration and Data Sharing in the Neglected Tropical Disease Community

Presenter: TJ Muehleman, CEO Secure Data Kit, a data collection, reporting, and collaboration tool

The iNTegrateD tool utilizes cloud software to create a framework that makes it easy for WHO, drug donors & shipping partners to work in a single system to collect, forecast & measure progress. For more information, visit


8. HEAD START: A Surgical Simulation Device to Train Trichiasis Surgeons

Presenter: Emily Gower, Associate Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Ophthalmology, Wake Forest School of Medicine

HEAD START is a mannequin-based training device that bridges the gap between classroom and live-surgery training.  Trainees complete a 3 hour, one-on-one session with a trainer and then practice on their own before or between live surgeries.  The device is also used for refresher training and supportive supervision of surgeons.


9. CliniTrial: A mobile, cloud-based data collection solution for clinical trials and global health

Presenters: Joshua Bogus and Jennifer Klenke, Washington University in St. Louis

Trials with global sites face several data challenges including data collection, data management, data quality and data security. CliniOps has developed an electronic data collection system that enables a complete digitization of clinical research. The tablet based solution offers complete offline functionality, for use in areas without Internet. Point-of entry data validation significantly increases data quality and drastically reduces downstream data management activities. For more information visit:


10.  LymphaTech: Low-Cost, High-Accuracy 3D Body Scanning for Monitoring Lymphedema and Other Conditions

Presenter: Michael Weiler, CEO, LymphaTech Inc.

LymphaTech has developed a low-cost, high-accuracy 3D body scanning solution specifically for the purpose of monitoring lymphedema, cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), child malnutrition (upcoming), and other conditions requiring human body measurement and tracking in resource-limited environments.  To contact us and learn more:


11. NTD Toolbox for Preventive Chemotherapy Diseases (ENVISION - RTI International)

Presenter: Kaleigh Robinson, Capacity Building Specialist, ENVISION, RTI International

Can’t find those NTD guidelines you’re looking for? Can’t remember where you uploaded that handy supervision tool? The NTD Toolbox includes the most relevant NTD guidance, tools and resources developed by ENVISION, WHO and other organizations. Find what you’re looking for by searching by disease or NTD program phase (planning, MDA management, surveillance, etc.). To access the NTD Toolbox, visit


12. Mobile Diagnostic Rapid Test Reader (mReader)

Presenters: Katherine Gass, Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, The Task Force for Global Health, and Carl Campbell, Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE), The University of Georgia.

The mReader application is a real time Lab-on-Mobile-Device platform configured to read any lateral flow test strip and produce a quantitative result.  The diagnostic test is inserted into a 3-D printed hood, which can be designed to fit most mobile devices, and the mReader application utilizes mobile image ratiometry to quantify the test to control-line ratio.  This application is currently being developed, in NTDs, for mapping and diagnostic purposes using rapid test assays for Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, and Schistosomiasis (Schistosoma mansoni specific).  The current mReader and NTD applications will be available for demonstration.

To obtain information about the mReader, visit

E-mail addresses for the Presenters for additional information on the NTD applications: Katherine Gass -; Carl Campbell -


13. NTD ConnectOR: A Hub for Researchers, Program Managers and Their Supporters

Presenter: Chelsea Toledo, Partnerships and Communications Manager, Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, The Task Force for Global Health

NTD ConnectOR - formerly known as the Operational Research Inventory - is an online resource presenting the research landscape in the fight against neglected tropical diseases, providing a picture of operational questions being answered by partners worldwide. A video tutorial, data entry form, and other helpful materials are available at