The shelf life of point-of-care and rapid diagnostic tests (POC-RDTs) is commonly compromised by abrupt temperature changes during storage, transportation, and use. This situation is especially relevant in tropical regions and resource-constrained settings where cold chain may be unreliable. Here, we report the use of novel and low-cost passive thermal shield (TS) made from laminated phase change material (PCM) to reduce thermal overload in POC-RDTs. Validation of the proposed design was done through numerical simulation and testing of an octadecane shield prototype in contact with a lateral flow immunoassay. The use of our TS design provided 30–45 min delay in thermal equilibration under constant and oscillating heat load challenges resembling those of field use. The addition of a thin PCM protection layer to POC-RDTs can be a cost-effective, scalable, and reliable solution to provide additional thermal stability to these devices.

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