HoliCare consortium approved in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme

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iSTOC is a part of the pan-European HoliCare consortium, that develops innovative approaches to enhance poverty-related diseases research in sub-Saharan Africa. HoliCare is a holistic approach in patient management and epidemic surveillance through convergence of diagnostic technologies, capacity building and stakeholder engagement. We are pleased to announce that the HoliCare consortium was approved in Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON), an EU-funded research and innovation program.

HoliCare is a joint project of 14 organizations and research institutes from Europe and Africa. iSTOC is the only Finnish participant and represents the business sector, while majority of the organizations from the UK, Sweden, Germany, France, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kamerun and Uganda represent universities and research institutes. Together these organizations aim to tackle both technological and non-technological challenges that the research on Poverty-Related Diseases faces in sub-Saharan Africa, and that prevent high quality healthcare to reach many areas. The main barriers to ensure good quality of healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa are related not only to the performance, but also the affordability, manufacturability, suitability for Low and Middle-Income Countries and deployment of the (few) available diagnostics.

The HoliCare venture aims to tackle such challenges from a holistic perspective, by bridging the gap between technological excellence, available infrastructures, capacity, and local uptake of new technologies. HoliCare has chosen to work with lower respiratory infections as a blueprint for a new approach due to their huge clinical and socioeconomic impact, and relevance to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Technologywise, HoliCare proposes diagnostic approach that will start in the field using lateral flow tests for rapid screening and triage, followed by a referral to a hospital and a follow-up detailed diagnosis using a Point-of-Care instrument. Digital and manufacturing infrastructures will encompass these technology innovations to ensure future local product development. Quality controlled biobanks will be developed for executing reliable clinical studies. Training and human capital investment will be achieved by focused and high-level training activities. Adoption and implementation activities will pave the way for the proposed diagnostic solutions to be successfully deployed, fitting the purpose of the local populations. HoliCare developments will be scalable, adaptable and transferable to other diseases and national (eco) systems, aiming to contribute to the improvement of healthcare delivery in sub-Saharan Africa.

The key tasks in the project for iSTOC are related to the data transmission platform, to design and development of a Connectivity Diagnostics API, a software system to enable the transmission and storage of the captured lateral flow data, and development of a Mobile reader App for Multi-LFT, a mobile software application with the ability to capture and store photographic and textual lateral flow data. The application will use the iSTOC algorithm and back-end, and it will have an inbuilt software API to the data transmission network which connects with the HoliCare centralized database.