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Congratulations – The European Inventor Award won by an Austrian

Biochemist Oliver Hayden’s rapid blood test to detect malaria wins over international jury

Together with the Dutch hematologist Jan van den Boogaart the Austrian biochemist Oliver Hayden has won the European Inventor Award. Their automatically operated rapid blood test to detect malaria convinced the international jury and enabled Hayden and van den Boogaart to prevail in the category Industry. This is what the Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Jörg Leichtfried has to say: “As regards inventions Austria is the European champion! Oliver Hayden is already the third countryman to win the European Inventor Award. His rapid blood test to detect malaria is a truly ingenious invention and an invaluable and effective tool in the struggle against this insidious disease.” Prior to the native Styrian Hayden Claus Hämmerle/Klaus Brüstle and Franz Amtmann were awarded the coveted trophy in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

According to the Austrian Patent Office’s President, Mariana Karepova at the award ceremony in Venice, “The malaria pathogen is playing a game of cat and mouse with our immune system. The invention of this ingenious duo could prove to be a real winner in the struggle against this treacherous disease. The two scientists looked beyond their own respective fields and established a link between different sciences, namely medicine and information technology. This is a remarkable ability and an achievement on which I would like to congratulate the two.”

“We took a close look at the data and made the amazing observation that it is rather the blood platelets than the immune cells that provide the necessary information about malaria infection,” said Hayden on the occasion of his nomination at the end of April. With the aid of this “fingerprint” the disease can not only be diagnosed far more rapidly than heretofore but also on a scale involving far more blood samples. Until now tests were time-consuming, laborious and had to be carried out by highly skilled specialists. The deadliest disease of our time can now be spotted reliably by means of an automated and computer-based blood test. Malaria poses a dire threat to one half of the world’s population. Every twelve seconds a human being dies of it. Children above all are its victims.

Since 2006 the European Inventor Award is conferred annually in the categories Industry, Small-to-Medium-sized Enterprises, Research, Non-European Countries and Lifetime Achievement.


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