Washington, Jan 25 (IANS) A low-cost device, known as the mChip, would speed up HIV diagnosis manifold and help provide the world's remote areas with lab-quality diagnostic services available only in bigger cities.
The new technology, a combination of cell phone and satellite telecommunication with fluid miniaturization techniques for performing all essential ELISA functions, 10 times faster, could tremendously ease diagnosis and treatment of the HIV-infected who cannot get themselves tested, because of far flung health care centres.
Developed by Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University, the tool not only checks a patient's HIV status worldwide with just a finger prick, but also synchronize the results automatically and instantaneously with central health-care records-10 times faster than the benchtop ELISA, a diagnostic technique, the journal Clinical Chemistry reports.
"We've built a hand-held mobile device that can perform laboratory-quality HIV testing, and do it in just 15 minutes and on finger-pricked whole blood," Sia said, according to a Columbia statement.
Sia collaborated with Claros Diagnostics (a company he co-founded, now called OPKO Diagnostics) to develop a pioneering strategy for an integrated microfluidic-based diagnostic device-the mChip-that can perform complex lab assays.
The device was field-tested in Rwanda by a collaborative team from the Sia lab at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.