Commenting on the launch, Professor Anna Schuh, Director of Molecular Diagnostics in the Department of Oncology, said: ‘A precise diagnosis is essential in delivering the right treatment to the right patient and at the right time, however 47% of the global population has little to no access to diagnostics. When it comes to common and potentially curable diseases like some types of anaemia or cancers, a late diagnosis or a misdiagnosis majorly contributes to these diseases’ poor outcomes.’
In sub-Saharan Africa, many diseases that can be easily cured or well controlled with affordable therapies are currently not being diagnosed. For early-stage cancer – adds Schuh - over 90% of patients can be cured in-country with treatment that costs a fraction of those for late-stage cancer.
In partnership with its sister company - Seren (UK) - SerenOx Africa ultimately aims to expand its services to the rest of Africa. A social enterprise spin-out from the University of Oxford, Seren (UK) makes use of research from the University to create revenue streams that support the establishment of diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries through training and capacity building.
The initiative was enabled by Schuh, building on 18-years’ experience developing genetic tests for blood diseases and cancer: ‘I realised that what we’re doing in the UK is chipping away at the edges with more personalised testing which improve outcomes for a few people. Important as that is for those individuals, my experience in East Africa made me see that developing diagnostic services alongside access programmes to therapies in areas where these are scarce has the potential to transform millions of lives.’