Project overview

Simplified Blood Culture System (SIMBLE)

With the SIMBLE project, we want to introduce better adapted diagnostics in Sub-Saharan Africa. To be effective and useful in tropical settings, diagnostic equipment needs to be 'tropicalised' (i.e., made resistant to dust, humidity and unreliable power supply). It should be affordable and easy for non-experts to purchase, maintain and use. Better adapted diagnostics will lead to better diagnosis and treatment.


The SIMBLE project is designed to evaluate Bactinsight, our recently developed simplified blood culture system, which consists of two modules:

  • A portable, battery-operated measurement device (turbidity metre) which detects bacterial growth in blood culture bottles, based on the turbidity of the culture medium

  • Blood culture bottles with optimised formulation

An additional module on the Bactinsight system contains a lens-free microscope, which simplifies and expedites the identification of the causative organisms. Bactinsight will be evaluated across two field sites in Western Africa by comparing it to the reference systems already in use. In addition, we will evaluate the usability, acceptability, adoptability and performance of the system.

The Bactinsight blood culture bottles will be produced on-site in Benin, in a production container production facility that will be installed on the Cotonou campus at the start of the project. With this production facility, we want to enforce local production not only during the SIMBLE study, but also after.

The project was funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). Grant info: RIA2020I-3270.

Project title

Clinical diagnostic trial in Western Africa of a simplified blood culture system to improve healthcare in low-resource settings


July 2021 – December 2024


Coordinating investigator

Liselotte Hardy

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At the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), 9 to 12 July 2021 (online)

  • Barbé B, Corsmit E, Jans J, Kaur K, Baets R, Jacobs J, Hardy L. Equipment-free detection of bacterial growth in blood cultures for low-resource settings: proof of concept of the Turbidimeter.

  • Schiavone P, Zamoun I, Soulan S, Maire A, Gougis M, Marcoux PR, González TY, Mugnier G, Picard E, Zelsmann M, Hadji E, Peyrade D. Artificial intelligence and large field, high resolution lensless imaging for nondestructive, label-free identification directly on agar.

  • Marcoux PR, Fourar M, Hamerlinck H, Naessens E, Ngolè F, Benahmed S, Bergmann E, Decq D, Mermet X, Belafdil C, Gal O, Grohs P, Verhasselt B, Roch M, Schultz E. Nondestructive optical identification of pathogens on agar through laser backscattering.

Research themes

  • antimicrobial-resistance-amr
    Bacteria have found various ways to develop resistance (AMR), of which resistance to antibiotics is a problem reaching across many different domains.