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Brunel student to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS with all in one needle design

According to the latest figures published by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation, an estimated 39.5 million people are living with HIV in the world, of which 24.5 million live in Africa. Every year the reuse of dirty syringes infects millions of people with AIDS and hepatitis and causes 1.3 million early deaths and 26 million years of life lost.

Sting - How it Works

Chris Natt's design, Sting, consists of a cartridge that combines the needle and syringe in one unit to ensure a single and safe vaccination procedure. Following vaccination, the needle automatically and permanently withdraws into a protective sheath to prevent immediate needle-stick injury and any possible re-use of the equipment. Sting has the potential to prevent the immediate spread of fatal diseases, as well as the risks associated with the re-use of needles.

Speaking about Sting, Chris says, “I spent a lot of time learning from healthcare professionals who've worked in Africa to understand the education process amongst those affected and developing a wider understanding of the culture and misconceptions surrounding needle reuse. Health education is vital in terms of reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, however, this process will take some time and in the interim I believe that Sting could have a more immediate and certain impact on reducing the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS.“

Paul Turnock, Senior Lecturer at Brunel University's School of Engineering and Design, comments, “Sting is quite outstanding and displays the high level of quality and thought that today's young designers put into their products. Chris has developed a product that could have a major impact to combat the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS - I hope that we will see medical personnel using this product in the not too distant future.“

Adrian Simon, Director of Commercialisation at Brunel's Enterprise Centre says, “Chris's project is a shining example of a University design project that not only provides a potential solution to a significant problem, it has the potential to save lives. The sooner this product is commercialised the better, in fact, a patent has already been filed.“

A significant concern amongst health practitioners lies with the lack of funding and inadequate needle disposal facilities. Chris Natt's Sting design aims to combat the high manufacturing costs associated with two part needles that are commonly being used by combining a disposal method as part of his design, lowering manufacturing costs and managing disposal more efficiently.

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Notes to Editors

MADE IN BRUNEL is a showcase for the very best talent in engineering and design. It is put together by students of Brunel University's School of Engineering and Design, with contributions from partner universities such as Tsinghua in China and IIT Madras, India.

For further information, please contact:
Dominique Nunes / Ronan McNern at Racepoint Group
Tel: 020 8752 3214 / 3206
Email: Dominique.nunes@racepointgroup.com / Ronan.Mcnern@racepointgroup.com

[1] WHO http://www.who.int/injection_safety/sign/meetings/past/en/InitialMeetingReport.pdf