Low-cost analytical device for counterfeits detection in emerging countries


Event details

Date and time 03.11.2016 11:0012:00  
Place and room
Speaker Prof. Rudaz Serge
Head of Biomedical and Metabolomic Analysis group, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Category Conferences - Seminars
The proportion of counterfeit medicines has dramatically increased in the last few years. According to numerous official sources, the proportion has reached 80% in African countries. The fight against this calamity is complex and different levels of action are necessary. Among them, the quality control of batches imported into the different countries can be achieved, although this strategy is often difficult to apply due to a lack of suitable analytical equipment in developing countries.

Simple, reliable, and cost-efficient drug control approaches are needed and the currently used methods entail numerous drawbacks such as
(i) the availability of reference substances,
(ii) the maintenance of analytical instruments, and
(iii) the availability and costs of consumables.

In this context, the use of capillary electrophoresis (CE) appears of utmost interest since the separation is achieved in a capillary of reduced dimension (total volume of 1 uL), filled with an aqueous buffered solution of electrolytes. No organic solvent is needed and injection volumes are in the nanoliter range, which is perfectly adapted to the low availability of reference substances. Another CE feature is the equipment simplicity, with no mechanical constraint and simplified maintenance, only requiring a periodical control of the electrodes and detection performance during routine analyses

The low-cost CE was successfully implemented in 8 emerging countries (i.e. Mali, Cambodia, Senegal, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Madagascar) leading to several missions, conventions (e.g. Pharmelp, Pharmaciens sans Frontières) scientific communications (5 articles, 4 oral communications, 5 posters), dissemination (>50 press releases and interviews), and international recognitions (e.g. runner up for the Humanity in Science Award from the Analytical Scientist in 2015). In order to analyze a high number of compounds and benefit from the device with the basic chemistry knowledge, we developed simple and generic methods, which were validated according to regulatory guidelines and are currently applied for the simultaneous qualitative and quantitative analysis of more than 80 drugs from the list of the 200 essential medicines defined by the World Health Organisation.

According to the feedback gathered through the missions regarding the instrument, the methods, and the field constraints, a new generation of device is currently under development in collaboration with Prof. H. Girault (EPFL, Sion) and his team. The further steps of the project should include:
(i)     a new/renewable energy source to supply HV regardless of the local electric facilities
(ii)    a new detection system to broaden the analysis range to any pharmaceutical drug
(iv)   an integrated SW to simplify data treatment and reporting

The seminar can also be followed either from an equipped room with visio-connection in EPFL Lausanne or with a computer with Jabberguest using the link https://jabberguest.epfl.ch/call/58300. Please connect at least 15-20 minutes in advance. Past this period, the connection won't be accepted anymore.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • Prof. Hubert Girault


  • Evelyn Ludi


Seminar ChE 602