Tiny test tube monitoring officer review

20 Nov 2020

We’re pleased to announce that we had our final review on the tiny test tube project, working with University of Reading, Capillary Film Technology and the National Institute of Animal Biology with funding from Innovate UK.

The project included the detailed development of a prototype field-based Antimicrobial Resistance testing kit and instruction system and the successful delivery of people-centred research activities with vets and microbiologists in India and the UK, all during a global pandemic when we were unable to travel and meet in person.

We developed the project identity through our field research - identifying the importance of ‘guarding’ the farmer’s cows and the quality of their milk through better veterinary care.

We tested the kit in India and the UK and have used this research to not only identify opportunities for product improvements but also the need to develop a product / service system approach that incorporates distribution, support and public health education as well as diagnostics, prescription and anti-microbial surveillance.

We are now working with the team to develop a phase 2 funding proposal that builds on the initial design research and look forward to working more closely with vets, farmers, the biotech industry and policymakers to bring about the revolution in dairy farming that is needed, not just in India, but around the world.

Packing the first Milk Guard kits for testing in India

25 Sept 2020

We have started to prepare our prototype testing kits for shipping to India for initial trials over the next month.

The prototype kits contain everything needed to test for bacteria that cause mastitis in dairy cattle and can identify resistance to all 5 commonly prescribed antibiotics. The kit includes:

  • Clear instructions and diagrams designed to make it simple and easy to use
  • Everything needed to prepare tests from a milk sample for a cow or buffalo with mastitis
  • A complete set of "tiny test tubes" which are microcapillary arrays containing a total of 30 microlitre reaction chambers
  • By measuring bacterial growth inside the T3 test strips, 30 separate growth curves allow accurate measurement of resistance or susceptibility to a range of antibiotics
  • Results are recorded using a smartphone camera and allow the vet to select the most suitable antibiotic to treat the animal.

Packing our Milk Guard test kit in our Reading University lab

Monitoring Officer Review: first quarter

17 Aug 2020

The Milk Guard team held a successful project review with our Innovate UK Monitoring Officer. We shared our vision and objectives, reviewed the project plan, compliance with ODA requirements, our risk management process and finances. We also explained our Design Research activities including the successful remote discovery workshops, service mapping, test kit development and the creation of the Milk Guard brand. We explained the engineering and microbiology developments that we have undertaken in parallel with design research. We are pleased to announce that we are on track to carry out final testing and validation in the field in October this year.

Mapping the future product / service experience

Engineering developments included integrating a bacterial incubation unit, battery pack lighting system and mobile camera into a robust and portable case.

Monitoring Officer review online with our global team in UK and India

Successful discovery field research carried out online via Whatsapp

20 Jun 2020

Dr Partha Ray led our innovative whatsapp-based research activities with a range of vets across West Bengal. We shared the proposed Milk Guard service with vets using mobile screen shots and descriptions over whatsapp groups and used the group feature to capture their feedback as well as understand more about farmers and vets knowledge around illness, treatment and AMR.

As one of the vets explained, “If this kit works properly it will bring a revolution in dairy industry globally”

We developed a range of images and questions that we used to test the service concept with vets in India

May 2020 field research trip cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

1 Apr 2020

We planned to carry out field research in India over the spring and summer months but needed to reassess the safety of this as the pandemic’s impact grew. We have replanned how we will carry out this research using mobile and digital technologies.

Covid strikes our research but the team have made alternative plans to ensure we can still share our work using mobile technologies

Innovate UK phase 1 funding application successful

20 Dec 2019

We’re pleased to announce that our bid for Innovate UK’s phase 1 research funding has been accepted. We will use the funding to develop a prototype portable antimicrobial resistance testing kit which will be codesigned with vets in India. Our team includes Capillary Film Technology Limited, the University of Reading, the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology in India, and our design partners, Design Science Ltd.

Our work aims to address the issues of antibiotic resistance in resource poor settings where regulation and availability of testing to support effective antibiotic treatments is weak and costs of lab-based testing are prohibitive.