WATERLOOVILLE, ENGLAND (July 26, 2 p.m. ET) — Early adopter trials of a plastic device that tests water supplies for contaminants and could save thousands of lives will take place later this year.
Currently undergoing validation tests at the University of Surrey, pilot testing of the Aquatest device will kick off in September in a number of worldwide locations including Malawi, Kenya, Laos, Cambodia and Peru.
Manufactured by Waterlooville-based Hi-Technology Group and designed by Bristol design firm Kinneir Dufort, the Aquatest was conceived by Stephen Gundry of the University of Bristol's Water & Health Research Centre to test for water-borne diseases.
Gundry and his team began work on the device more than six years ago and have been backed by grants including a $13 million donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
John Halliwell, of the University of Bristol, told PRW it is envisaged the kit will be used primarily by aid agencies and water test professionals, although local people could be trained to use it.
“The Aquatest removes the need for laboratory conditions to conduct the test or for tested material to be transported over considerable distances and rough terrain, which can take days,” he added.
Made of medical-grade polypropylene, the single-use Aquatest collects 100ml of water which is exposed to a reagent once the unit is closed. It is then incubated for 24 hours and the results – positive or negative for contaminants – are read through the device using a UV torch.
Richard Brown of Hi-Technology Group said his firm got involved with the project in October: “The challenge was to produce a water-tight product at a reasonable cost.
“We are delighted to be involved with a project that can quickly identify whether a water supply is contaminated and help maintain the health of communities around the world.”