Newsletter: Reasons to be Optimistic – April 2022

Newsletter: Reasons to be Optimistic – April 2022

April 2022

By Jon Spratley, CEO at 42T

Illustration showing a yellow ball with smiley face and sunglasses amongst unhappy grey faces

As an antidote to the less-than-optimistic news we are surrounded by, I thought I would share some things that the team at 42T are optimistic about. Each edition I will focus on different topics that are close to our heart. I’ll also include some other news I feel you would be interested in.

Vaccine and diagnostics development

The last couple of years has catapulted vaccine developments and diagnostic testing into everyone’s consciousness. As two of the main keys to unlock a door out of perpetual restrictions of the Covid pandemic, vaccines and diagnostic tests have done a remarkable job. Having developed these capabilities, there is a great opportunity to use the tools and processes to tackle other diseases too.

At a recent conference on the role of exhaled particles in disease transmission & diagnostics we were very impressed by NIH RADx achievements in compressing the timescales for new diagnostic development and scale-up. By building strong collaborations and via a fast-paced ‘Shark Tank’ like selection process with clear milestones and structured requirements, they were able to fast track advanced diagnostic technologies and deploy millions of tests per week in about 6 months.

Clinical trial medicine
Covid is obviously very important, but neglected diseases are a huge real-world problem. Tuberculosis (TB) is a major disease and affects over 1 million children worldwide. While it is treatable and preventable, it is hard to diagnose in children as typical sputum, nasal or stomach samples are unpleasant and invasive. 42T are proud to have worked together with FIND and Rutgers University to develop an alternative sampling process, based on stool samples, that simplifies the diagnosis of TB in young people. Read the case study.

As the learnings from Covid start to feed into diagnostic and vaccine programmes for new diseases, we’re looking forward to working with lots of inspiring clients on exciting new technologies.

Carbon removal

Whilst (I hope) we all agree that we need to seriously limit the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere, one of the exciting developing technology areas is in the capture or removal of carbon.

As discussed in this great article ‘What could a carbon removal system of the future look like’ by my colleague Tim, membranes that selectively filter CO2 out of a gas stream hold great potential for low temperature applications due to their modular nature, ease of scalability, relatively low capital cost and simplicity of system requirements. They are still in development stages, but as more industries face aggressive carbon pricing the financial imperative should drive higher adoption.

White cumulus clouds in bright blue sky

In September, the world’s largest carbon removal plant was switched on in Iceland with the capacity to remove 4,000 tons of CO2 from the air each year. This is the same as growing an acre of redwood forest (which takes much longer than a year). It is a small step on the path to removing the billions of tons of carbon that we need to within the next several decades, but it is a step! View the Iceland carbon renewal plant article.

Forthcoming event

Dr Alan Hart, Director of Product Innovation at 42T, will be speaking at the Engineering Design Show Reconnect on 27th April. This two-day virtual event features a series of inspirational keynotes. Also, case-study led presentations and interactive panel sessions, all addressing the key challenges and opportunities facing the UK engineering sector.

For registration and details of Alan’s talk ‘Treasure Maps and Minefields: How the way you create and evaluate new product ideas can benefit from a structured approach’, please visit EDS Reconnect.

Meet our latest team member: Mike Sales

Mike Sales

Position: Senior Embedded Firmware Engineer

Joined the team in: March 2022

Specialism/skills: Mike is a Chartered Engineer and has spent most of his career focusing on developing reliable, robust and maintainable embedded firmware in products including DTV Set Top Boxes, COFDM modulators, GNSS trackers and solar power systems for Africa.

Fun fact: Loves the mountains! Completed an ultra-marathon and has aspirations to try ski-mountaineering.

Read more about Mike

And in case you missed these insights from the team…

Women’s Health: Data bias in healthcare
Why is there a data bias? What are the consequences? And what can we as engineers, designers and product developers do about it?

Choosing green technology winners
Technology advancement will be relied upon to meet net zero targets. Here are some steps to reduce the risk of adopting the wrong technology.

Ensuring resilience in manufacturing capabilities
All too frequently, crucial learnings are not recorded and the deep understanding of the manufacturing process is lost. So what might you do about it?

Unleashing the benefits of Energy Harvesting from electrical supplies
Remote monitoring and/or control capability is usually still possible where direct access to the mains or primary power isn’t available.

I hope you found the above of interest, and agree there’s room for some optimism!

Best regards,


Dr Jon Spratley
Chief Executive Officer

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