A new technique known as minimally invasive tissue sampling (MITS), developed by ISGlobal, will form part of a new global surveillance alliance which will help improve the quality of data on causes of death in low-income countries.
A key question in global health is what the causes of death are in low-income countries, so since 2013, a team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) have developed minimally invasive tissue sampling, a tool which shows promise in determining the cause of death with almost the same precision as a complete autopsy.
Over the past few years, a growing number of institutions and countries have expressed their interest in using this new technique.
The MITS Alliance, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and launched today in Barcelona, will aim to improve the quality of data on causes of death in low-income countries.
Kathy Banke, programme officer at the Gates Foundation, explained: “The alliance was formed to support the continued expansion of pathology-based surveillance and promote the utilisation of MITS to better understand causes of death in various populations and geographies.”
What is the technique?
MITS is a technique comprising very fine needles to recover tissue samples from different organs and analyse these tissues through anatomopathological and microbiological techniques, therefore allowing an accurate establishment of the cause of death.
Unlike a complete autopsy, this method can be performed by specially trained technicians and with limited infrastructure.
Minimally invasive tissue sampling was developed through the CADMIA and CADMIA-plus projects, set the basis for CHAMPS, a global child mortality prevention and surveillance network, and has now become the cornerstone of this new pathology-based surveillance alliance.
Changing global health priorities
Project leaders Jaume Ordi, Clara Menendez and Quique Bassat said: “The minimally invasive autopsy can radically change our knowledge of the causes of death and thereby change our global health priorities.”