Seminar #29

Innovative Point-of-Care Technologies: Lessons Learned and Moving Forward

Fio Corporation

No invitations necessary; open to all conference registrants

Tuesday 6 December
12:30 – 13:15
CTICC room location: 1.6


  • Lab technicians
  • Medical scientists
  • Diagnostic suppliers
  • Public health officials
  • International health organizations


Point-of-care testing (POCT) is producing an unprecedented transformative effect on health care. Rapid HIV tests catalyzed increased rates of case finding that have driven global efforts in HIV prevention and treatment. Nonetheless, the proportion of undiagnosed HIV cases is still unacceptably high, which prevents individuals from having access to existing prevention and treatment services. It is estimated that there are 35 million individuals living with HIV worldwide; and 54% (19 million) do not know their HIV positive status. Moreover, only 42% of children born to HIV positive mothers receive an HIV test within the first eight weeks of life in low- and middle-income countries.

Malaria testing at POCT facilitated by widespread use of RDTs has been instrumental in raising testing rates in Africa for suspected malaria cases from <5% in 2000 to >40% in 2010, thereby reducing inappropriate antimalarial treatment and improving community-based management of fever and health outcomes. POCT has relied on easy-to-detect biomarkers, such as antibodies, antigens, and simple biochemical reactions which are used in POCT for a wide range of infectious diseases (e.g., dengue fever, syphilis, hepatitis, schistosomiasis, etc.) and for applications such as blood typing.

New point of-care tests also show promise, such as testing for CD4+ T cells at primary health care clinics can accelerate the rate of initiation of antiretroviral therapy, and NAT based testing for tuberculosis which has increased the rate of case detection by up to 50% and reduced the time until treatment initiation by a factor of 10.

Besides infectious diseases, POCT has also demonstrated to be a valuable option for effective management of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, anemia, hyperlipidemia, and others.

Although POCT technologies have been scaled-up rapidly worldwide, corresponding quality assurance programs have not kept pace. A strong emphasis needs to be placed on innovative strategies to ensure quality for tests that are being conducted in volumes far beyond that covered by conventional laboratory quality assurance plans and accreditation status. Modern mobile communication technologies can contribute to the success of POCT testing, by providing the means of effective, sustainable, and timely QA/QC. Fionet, which consists of mobile devices to assist peripheral healthcare workers in RDT processing, performs automated interpretation of RDTs and captures and transmits patient information, is one of the solutions currently available.

This symposium will serve as a forum to discuss: 1- the main QA/QC challenges facing widespread implementation of POCT testing, 2- the experiences from different countries with the use of a system such as Fionet; and 3- provide insights related to the steps required to move forward the field.


  • Identify QA/QC challenges facing widespread implementation of POCT testing
  • Compile lessons learned that can be applied across countries using systems such as Fionet
  • Identify the key steps to moving forward in the field


Santiago Ferro, Fio Corporation, VP Clinical Affairs
DSantiago Ferro graduated from Javeriana University Medical School in his native Bogotá, Colombia. After specializing in Internal Medicine, Dr. Ferro got his sub-specialty training in Infectious Diseases at University of Toronto. Dr. Ferro returned to Bogotá and established a private practice in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, while at the same time held academic positions at different teaching hospitals. Dr. Ferro was appointed chief of Internal Medicine at Central Military Hospital in Bogotá and was elected President of the Colombian Infectious Disease Society.
Dr. Ferro and his family returned to Canada in 2000, and he joined the clinical research group at Aventis Pasteur (currently Sanofi Pasteur) where he took the position of Clinical Team Leader for new vaccines and started to get involved in public health topics. After a brief position at Novartis pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, US where as Infectious Disease expert he was a member of the internal Scientific Review Board, Dr. Ferro was appointed Medical Director at the Malaria Vaccine Initiative in Bethesda, Maryland. At this position Dr. Ferro led a team of clinical researches which jointly with Glaxo Smith Klein’s team was assigned the task to implement a large phase 3 clinical trial for a malaria vaccine candidate in 7 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He joined Fio Corporation in 2010.
Dr. Ferro completed courses in Clinical Epidemiology at University of Toronto, has presented in multiple international scientific conferences, and has over twenty scientific publications in peer reviewed journals and medical textbooks.

Natasha Gous, National Health Laboratory Services, Program Manager, National Priority Programmes

Rosanna Peeling, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor and Chair of Diagnostics Research