See original story from BioTalent Canada here

Meet Dr. Kirumira. Saving lives through affordable rapid diagnostics.

Many cash-strapped clinics in developing countries cannot afford traditional automated diagnostics labs. Rapid diagnostic technology has taken the guess work out of healthcare in poor regions. It is a life-saving tool for physicians that before could only rely on physical examination for diagnosis.

Name: Dr. Abdullah K. Kirumira
Title: Chairman and Technical Director at BioMedica Diagnostics
Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at Acadia University, Nova Scotia
Organization: BioMedica Diagnostics
Expertise: Rapid Medical Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Clinical Research, Commercialization
Background: Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, Health Care

 

I am most passionate about… Affordable Medical Diagnostic technologies for the poorest of the poor. Many cash-strapped clinics in developing countries cannot afford traditional automated diagnostics labs. At BioMedica Diagnostics, we use some of the proceeds from the sales of QuikCoag™, a series of blood coagulation testing reagents used to diagnose “lifestyle-diseases” of rich countries, like clotting disorders, and heart disease, along with surplus, underutilized, smaller and affordable diagnostic-equipment to create inexpensive portable diagnostic-minilabs. It’s my mission to help save lives in remote areas where access to healthcare is difficult.

What do you wish the public would know about your field? Access to accurate diagnosis could cut unnecessary mortality rates by as much as 25% in developing regions such as Africa.

I am most proud about… Applying innovative biotechnology to link the Medical Diagnostic needs of developed and developing communities. I am proud of the products that have resulted from my research in the past 20 years and the impact they have had on healthcare in the third world. Medmira Rapid HIV Test has made HIV diagnosis accessible even to remote villages in developing countries, giving test results in 2-3 minutes.

Biggest misconception about biotech is… that it’s all about DNA recombinant technology. It really is about the impact. The combination of Biology, Chemistry and Engineering has brought tremendous impact on healthcare and agriculture. Rapid diagnostic technology has taken the guess work out of healthcare in poor regions. The technology is a life-saving tool for physicians that before could only rely on physical examination for diagnosis.

To someone just starting in biotech I would say… Pursue your passion. It is a versatile area with applications in most disciplines key to global economic development (Medicine, Energy, Agriculture, Microelectronics, Defence and Environment Protection, among others). If you are a newcomer to Canada, use the education and training opportunities available to you, to give back to your country of origin. The ability to give back has been a very fulfilling experience for me.

What’s the best part about working in biotech? Coming up with innovations that impact global human-health and economic well-being. Biotechnology has had tremendous impact on healthcare and agriculture. We now have the capability to cure diseases that we weren’t able to cure before. Farmers can cultivate high-yielding crop in arid areas where agriculture was not possible.

Most-admired scientist: Imhotep (2890 BC.) Father of Medicine in Ancient Egypt who was worshipped by the Greeks and Romans for his brilliance and medical discoveries.

Favorite pastimes: Tennis.

Favorite Book:  “World’s Great Men of Colour” by J.A Rogers.

Favorite destination: Uganda.

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