Diagnostic tool
A Transportable Laboratory adapted for MSF field interventions.
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The project

In brief

[Funding Completed / 2016-2019]

The purpose of the Mini-Lab project is to design and produce a small-scale, autonomous, transportable clinical bacteriology laboratory which is affordable and above all suited to the MSF’s fields of intervention. This concept, developed by MSF with its partners, is also intended to be made available to health care operators in countries with limited resources.

The Mini-Lab project hosted by MSF has been able to benefit from other funding mechanisms and the Foundation has been able to redirect its funding to other emerging initiatives. 

Status of the project

  • Problem analysis
  • Development
  • Evaluation
  • Deployment

The Identified Gap

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is finally acknowledged as a major public health threat, currently causing 1.27 million deaths in 2019 and 10 million deaths by 2050 if nothing is done. Low- and Middle-income countries are known to be hit the hardest. The limited access to adequate clinical bacteriology laboratory contributes to increasing antibiotic resistance and complicates the management of infections such as sepsis. In the 70 countries where MSF operates, patients are coming to hospitals with bacterial infections, not responding to antibiotic treatments.

To tackle this problem, MSF developed a multidisciplinary AMR strategy built around 3 pillars:

  • The improvement of infection prevention control to reduce MDR transmissions and limit nosocomial infections.
  • The promotion of rational use of antibiotics.
  • An increased access to bacteriology diagnostic laboratories, especially for pediatric and trauma infections (burns, osteomyelitis).

Mini-Lab is part of the third pillar of action.  

The MSF Foundation’s Response

The MSF Foundation contributed to funding Mini-Lab during the first years of the project. It aims to facilitate access to microbiology laboratories where there is no conventional laboratory accessible, in areas where MSF is deployed. In doing so, it provides higher quality diagnostics, leading to improved patient care in sepsis.  


Mini-Lab : le laboratoire adapté aux terrains d'intervention de MSF


In detail

The Mini-Lab makes it possible for bacteriological tests, essential to the diagnosis of certain infections, to be carried out in field conditions. It will help reduce the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance by adapting the prescription of antibiotics to the encountered resistances and will thus improve care for patients.

The Mini-Lab will also be be used to support clinical monitoring of antibiotic resistance. It will gather data to improve empirical treatment guidelines and assist in field studies on performance diagnosis, infections and prevention strategies. The target population is hospitalized patients: seriously ill children co-infected with malaria, burns patients with suspected septicaemia, patients with HIV and suffering from fever, etc.

The Mini-Lab combines simplified logistics with robust techniques. It meets the clinical needs of countries with moderate or low resources (LMICs) in which conventional clinical bacteriology is difficult to set up. These techniques are accessible to trained but non-specialist users.


How does it work ? 


Key Figures


What were the main stages of the project ?

Who's involved?

Our partners

  • Institut of Tropical Medecine Logo
  • Arts et Métiers ParisTech Logo
  • Hôpitaux universitaires Paris-Sud Logo
  • Fondation Mérieux Logo
  • Whonet Logo
  • Cardiff University logo

The team

  • Céline Franquesa
    Céline Franquesa
    Project Manager
  • Alessandra Natale
    Alessandra Natale
    Research Coordinator
  • PictoEquipe
    Thomas Vidal
    Mini-Lab Field Coordinator
  • Baptiste Le Corre
    Baptiste Le Corre
    Systems and equipment design coordinator
  • PictoEquipe
    Jean-Baptiste Ronat
    Scientific and Technical Manager
  • Bernard Baillet
    Bernard Baillet
    Microbiologist in charge of developing quality procedures and documents