Tragedy Unearths a Lost Invention

Tragedy Unearths a Lost Invention


Tragedy Unearths A Lost Invention

PreScouter’s Story: From Academia to Innovation
PreScouter’s story began with tragedy.
In Fall 2008, the world watched in horror as news broke that the number of infants in China sickened with kidney problems expanded daily. By the end of 2008, there were over 300,000 victims, with six infants dying from kidney damage, and a further 860 babies hospitalised.The cause of the epidemic had been Chinese milk companies lacing dairy products with melamine, a dangerous toxic chemical, as a way of increasing the apparent protein content of those products.

With widespread panic in China over the consumption of dairy products, the World Health Organization called on researchers to develop a rapid test for melamine.It transpired that the University of Minnesota had, several years prior, developed an enzyme able to detect melamine. Though the Chinese milk scare in 2008 was only the most recent of several melamine epidemics, the enzyme had sat in the university labs with little awareness of its commercial potential. In the wake of the Chinese milk scare, the University uncovered and sold the enzyme to BIOO Scientific Corp, who quickly commercialized the invention. Nevertheless, this was still too late for some of the infants.PreScouter was inspired by this story of taking academic research and using it to solve real-world problems.

PreScouter was inspired by this story of taking academic research and using it to solve real-world problems.