A HI-TECH North-East company working on a hand-held gadget which could help combat malaria is launching an online fundraising campaign to take the project forward.

Newcastle company QuantuMDx needs more funding to develop and trial their revolutionary ‘handheld laboratory.’

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Scientists at the company – which include top genetics expert Professor John Burn – believe their device could help to fight the growing menace of malaria by giving medical workers the ability to diagnose malaria on the spot within 15 minutes.

It plansto launch an Indiegogo crowd crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday February 12.

With one child dying every minute of malaria, the funds raised will be used to further expand clinical trials of the company’s malaria diagnostic to allow health workers to tackle drug resistance.

A spokesman for the company said: “With no need for clean water or electricity, QuantuMDx’s rugged and user-friendly handheld lab will offer a technology leap to developing nations, giving even the most rural communities access to life -saving diagnostics.

Chief executive officer Elaine Warburton said “Our crowdfunding campaign is unique.

"Not only are we looking for contributors to support this phenomenally worthy cause to help save many hundreds if not thousands of children’s lives, but we’re also offering everyone the chance to leave a lasting legacy in the fight against malaria by contributing their winning ideas to the look and feel of our device and to take part in re-naming it from the current research name of Q-POC™.”

Another company spokesman, Jonathan O’Halloran, said “We now have a prototype device that has completed a sample-to-result malaria DNA test in under 15 minutes. Contributions will help take our life saving device from the lab to the field and directly save lives.

“We have health workers around the world crying out for our technology , we just need help to finalise our development and drive the technology through clinical trials.”

The company will be releasing a series of trailers of the campaign to introduce the technology on their YouTube channel; www.youtube.com/user/QuantuMDxTV.