Solution Overview

Solution Name

D-Check

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One-line solution summary.

A strip that changes color, when in contact with saliva, to detect cavities and periodontal diseases.

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https://youtu.be/3L2rly9BeUY

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What is your solution?

A strip that changes color, when in contact with saliva, to detect cavities and periodontal diseases. 

Our solution specifically targets lactic acid because it plays an important role in initiating and maintaining caries. In addition, this acid indicates a developed dental plaque. This plaque is closely linked to periodontal disease.

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What specific problem are you trying to solve?

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 estimated that oral diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people worldwide, with caries of permanent teeth being the most common condition. The stakes are high as poor oral hygiene can lead to dental cavities and gum disease, and has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These extreme repercussions are the consequence of preventable diseases detected in the late stages. Let's take cavities as an example: this disease is only detected later on through dark spots and pain. This leads to a highly intrusive and expensive treatment. We want to cut the costs of dental care by providing an accessible and easy-to-use detector.


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Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Dental and oral health is an essential part of your overall health and well-being. It is of the utmost importance, especially with children as, according to the CDC, untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. The CDC affirms that children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don't.

  • About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
  • 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
  • Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11%).

Our solution is an affordable, accessible, and easy-to-use alternative to detect and prevent dental caries and periodontal diseases. We chose children as our target because we are conscious that great added value is needed and guaranteed. Not only will the problems cited above disappear, but their well-being will also be fostered both, in the present and the future.  

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What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

Alongside online forms, we did 30 interviews with parents from different socio-economic backgrounds and different sensitivity to oral hygiene. We discovered that even parents with mediocre oral hygiene are very concerned with their children's dental hygiene. We also noticed that most parents value our solution as a psychological tool that would encourage their children to visit the dentist. Yet, 20 out of 30 would only buy our tool if convinced that the threat is imminent. Consequently, we decided to contact Health authorities and NGOs. The "Centre de médecine scolaire et universitaire" said that, on average, each Tunisian pupil has 1.2 dental carie. They expressed their interest in having our solution come up with an app that would allow them to track and provide assistance to children with dental issues. 

Our co-founder Sarah, a member of TADS (Tunisian Association for Dental Students) also had on-the-ground visits to schools where she was in charge of treating pupils and educating them. 

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Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Improving healthcare access and health outcomes; and reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities (Health)

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Our solution's stage of development:

Concept: An idea being explored for its feasibility to build a product, service, or business model based on that idea
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?

We have worked on this solution for two years to define the scientific bases and do market research. Unfortunately, we weren't able to bring it to life for financial and technical issues. We couldn't get funding without the proof of concept and we needed funding for the proof of concept. 

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Tunis, Tunisie
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Team Lead:

Badis Karboul

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new use of an existing technology (e.g. application to a new problem or in a new location)
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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our technology is based on bioengineering. We aim to detect lactic acid in two possible ways. 

First, lactic acid detection through complexation. In fact, lactic acid is the only acid that contains two carboxyl functions. We aim to cyclize to go from a linear molecule to a cycle. At the center of this cycle, a metal is fixed which will occupy the area delimited by this cycle.

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Last but not least, oxidation of H2O2 from lactic acid in a phenolic derivative. This specific and indirect detection is inspired by the following article: shorturl.at/xLQRX 

http://protein.bio.msu.ru/biok...

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Biotechnology / Bioengineering
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Tunisia
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How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

Our solution is still in the idea stage. It needs to develop in a laboratory and be tested. Therefore, serving the product next year isn't realistic. After two years, we aim to serve it to one hundred thousand Tunisian pupils through a collaboration with the Tunisian ministry of health.

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What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

Our impact goals are the following:

*Reducing health disparities for underserved children

*Fostering well-being and healthy bodies through oral hygiene 

*Cutting the costs of dental treatment for children through early diagnosis

Our solution answers those goals as it provides a tool that detects oral diseases in the very first stages. It's accessible, easy-to-use, and affordable. Our tool is revolutionary as it's the first of its kind to target end consumers directly. It could lift communities from oral hygiene poverty.

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How are you measuring your progress or planning to measure your progress toward your impact goals?

Our progress is measured by:

-Lab tests

-Clinical trials

-Patent

-number of strips sold


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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

The existing barriers are:

*Financial: We need funds to develop our solution and carry out clinical trials.

*Legal: We will define our product as a diagnostic assistance tool and patent it.

*Cultural: Tunisians only react when the threat is imminent so we need to sell our preventive tool to ministries and NGOs.

*Technical: We need a scientifically capable co-founder to carry on the tests, do the follow-up, or even improve the formula.

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About Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?

full-time staff: 2/ Board of advisors: 4

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How long have you been working on your solution?

2 years

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our team is composed of two members: Badis Karboul, a business graduate, and Sarah Besbes, a final-year dental student.

Badis was a finalist in Open Startup Tunisia, a competition in collaboration with Columbia University NY where D-Check was first created. He is also the winner of the Global Entrepreneurship Summer School (GESS) award delivered by the BMW Foundation Munich 2019 for co-creating a billion-euro project to save water and oceans. In those two instances, Badis was part of multidisciplinary and multicultural teams where conflicts were managed successfully. This is in part due to his past position as the co-founder and coordinator of the first peace club in the Mena region, a pilot project with the USIP. This is a glimpse of the many activities and experiences that make Badis a great lead for this project.

Sarah is a member of TADS, the Tunisian chapter of the International Association of Dental Students (IADS). In this capacity, she was involved in multiple activities like the organization of preventive healthcare/prophylaxis days, the annual congress, multiple screening&awareness campaigns, etc. Those opportunities made her connect with underserved communities (especially children) and develop empathy and understanding.

To be a well-positioned team, we need a scientifically capable co-founder that would supervise or carry out tests in laboratories and clinical trials. He/she could also improve the formula.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

D-Check has partnered with Bouattour Equipements et Services to supply necessary ingredients for the development of our solution free charge. 

It has also has partnered with professors from  Faculté de Pharmacie- Monastir, Faculté des sciences de Monastir and Faculté de médecine de Monastir to carry out tests in laboratories. 

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Your Business Model & Resources

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Girls Save the World Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No
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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Pozen Social Innovation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes
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If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Pozen Social Innovation Prize to advance your solution?

Our solution improves the quality of life for women and girls by drastically improving their oral health and therefore, their overall health.

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Solution Team

 
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