Published on February 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM
World Design Impact Prize shortlists Dr David Swann's colour-changing ABC Syringe, designed to deter the reuse of syringes and stop the spread of infection
University of Huddersfield lecturer Dr David Swann's design for a syringe that changes colour in order to deter its re-use - with the possibility of spreading dangerous infection - has already earned global interest. Now the project's profile will be raised higher still, following its shortlisting for a second major design award.
For Dr Swann it will mean an expenses-paid trip to Cape Town, for a ceremony at which the winner of the 2014 World Design Impact Prize, organised by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, will be announced.
The ABC Syringe (A Behaviour Changing Syringe) is the name given to Dr Swann's invention, which is designed to tackle a massive global healthcare problem. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that up to 40% of the 40 billion injections administered each year are delivered with syringes reused without sterilisation. This is responsible for large proportions of new cases of HIV and hepatitis, responsible for some three million deaths every year.
Dr Swann's solution is a plastic syringe that is colourless while it remains in its nitrogen-filled pack. But exposure to air activates an ink applied to the label on the barrel. There is a brief treatment window - lasting about a minute - before the ink, having absorbed CO², turns the label to red. This alerts patients to the fact that the syringe has been used once and is therefore no longer sterile.