Missionary in a Lab Coat

Five years ago, Alynne Maclean quit her job at a biotech firm, cashed in her stock options, and set out to save the world. Or at least part of it.

MacLean, a bioechemist, has become a missionary in a lab coat. She started a small nonprofit called Science with a Mission. Her goal was to develop simple diagnostic tests--called enzyme immunoassays--for illnesses like malaria and typhoid.

The tests, which act like a home pregnancy test, need no high tech instruments or electricity. They give results fast. And they can allow doctors and nurses in the third world to diagnose and treat people quickly.

Maclean was in Congo earlier this year, with promising results.(More on that to come--there've been several news stories on her lately, but all the links are down). She deiivered 5,000 malaria test strips and 1,000 typhoid test strips -- meaning that at least 6,000 patients will not have wait days or weeks for the results of blood tests, days that can mean the difference between life and death.


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