Tommaso Busolo, PhD | University of Cambridge; Ryo Mizuta, PhD; Giulia Tomasello; Isabel Farina
Competition Sponsor: United Kingdom Research and Innovation
Awardee Year: 2022
Vaginal health has been systematically overlooked due to a combination of taboo, inadequate policy, and funding, contributing to continued poor health outcomes for females. In particular, vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis impact over 25% of post-menopausal females, causing pain, poor mental health and doubling the risk of UTIs and endometriosis. Social stigma and lack of rapid and convenient access to healthcare providers are the key barriers for females to seek help when needed.
A crucial factor in vaginal health is the vaginal microbiota as it enables the prevention of vaginal conditions ranging from bacterial vaginosis to UTIs. However, keeping a healthy microbiota state is challenging because its composition can vary daily, influenced by factors such as hygiene products, sexual activity and medications. This is even more challenging for post-menopausal females due to the declining oestrogen levels.
Currently, there are no options that provide both affordable at home vaginal microbiome and complementary educational support. Our solution is a smart pad with integrated wearable biosensors that makes at-home vaginal microbiome testing accessible. After wearing the pad for a few hours, the user will be able to visualise their microbiota information on an app and tailored educational support will be provided. This solution will enable preventing infections, supporting any self-treatment course or facilitating seeking medical advice.
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