Global WACh

February 19, 2021

A new award funds a water purification system to improve testing quality at collaborative laboratories in Kenya

The importance of water quality and its role in generating reliable, consistent, and cost-effective laboratory analysis is often overlooked in research laboratories.  Without high-quality pure water, very few tests would be possible. An effective water purification system can meet the needs of laboratories to remove contaminants that would interfere with specific tests or procedures.

With funding from a recent 2020 UW/Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) International Infrastructure Award, Dr. Bhavna Chohan (Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health; Senior Research Scientist, Kenya Medical Research Institute) will purchase a water purification system with UV radiation treatment that will serve the UW-affiliated collaborative research laboratories in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa in Kenya.  This proposal garnered the support of partnerships between the University of Washington and the University of Nairobi, and between Partners in Health and Research Development (PHRD) and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

The Elix® Essential 3 Water Purification System will deliver a consistent supply of high-quality water. (Credit: Millipore Sigma)

The water purificator system will deliver a constant supply (of up to 60 liters per day) of high-quality double-distilled water free from chemical and microbiological impurities.  Pure water is crucial for testing reagents for laboratory assays to ensure accurate and reliable results for study participants and study analyses,  including processing biological samples, collected from women and children participants of several Global WACh-affiliated studies.

The benefits of pure water go beyond research and will have a lasting impact on ongoing and future research at the collaborative laboratories in Kenya.  Having tests work correctly the first time saves laboratory staff time and money, increasing confidence in the results.  The lives of patients may depend on these results to detect infectious diseases and disorders and to quickly receive necessary treatment.