Check for HIV in simply quarter-hour with this $34 smartphone dongle
A dongle created by Columbia College researchers can flip any smartphone (whether or not iPhones or Android units) into an HIV and syphilis tester. Even higher, it solely takes quarter-hour and a tiny drop of blood to get a end result — the gadget does not even want a battery to work. In line with the paper the researchers revealed in Science Translational Drugs, the dongle performs enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect HIV antibody, treponemal-particular antibody for syphilis, and non-treponemal antibody for lively syphilis an infection. Labs do not presently supply the three exams wanted to detect these in a single format. ELISA machines, by the best way, value round $18,000, however every of those dongles solely value round $34 to fabricate.
To check, you prick a finger and put your blood on the system’s plastic collector. After that, you will need to launch its accompanying app and bodily push a button right down to launch the reagents wanted for the check (as proven within the video under). It is urgent a button, as an alternative of automating the method, that permits researchers to get rid of the necessity for a battery. The gadget will get no matter little processing energy it wants from the smartphone, pill or pc itself — yep, it really works with different forms of electronics, as a result of it plugs in by way of the headphone jack.
The group of researchers was led by Samuel Okay. Sia, an affiliate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering. Sia and his workforce have been creating cellular HIV/syphilis testing labs for a very long time, and one among their earlier creations is the mChip, which is a bank card-sized gadget that may additionally check for these STDs. Every mChip solely prices round a $1 every, however in contrast to this dongle which works any telephone, it wants a $one hundred diagnostic package so as to work.
The dongle lately underwent pilot testing in Rwanda, the place it was used on ninety six sufferers, principally from prevention-of-mom-to-youngster-transmission clinics and voluntary check facilities. Sadly, it incorrectly recognized some sufferers as contaminated once they weren’t, however its creators are working to enhance its accuracy earlier than doing a much bigger trial run.
[Image credit: Samiksha Nayak for Columbia Engineering]