Just 15 minutes for HIV, Syphilis….
We can now turn any smartphone (whether iPhones or Android devices) into an HIV and syphilis tester. Wonder how? Here is the answer… The plastic attachment, about the size of the phone itself, uses disposable cartridges to load blood and the device’s app reads the results, giving a diagnosis in about 15 minutes. The device, called “dongle”, can be attached to any smart phone or tablet through the audio jack. This is the first low-cost dongle that replicates all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a laboratory-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) without requiring any stored energy; all necessary power is drawn from a smartphone… This low-weight device is capable of simultaneously detecting HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis and nontreponemal antibody for active syphilis in a single format….
So these are the steps: – plug the dongle in and take a blood sample with the prick of a finger. Insert the sample into a disposable plastic collector (cartridges) and connect the collector to a microfluidic chip which analyses the sample. Next, insert the chip with the blood sample into the dongle, open the app, wait about 15 minutes and you have your results.
Let’s see what’s happening… The blood sample mixes with chemicals called reagents in micro scale channels within the cartridge. Gold nanoparticles bind to antibodies, and silver nanoparticles form a film around the gold particles. This silver film blocks light shined through the finished sample, indicating the test result within 15 minutes. The result is automatically loaded into the phone’s storage.
As I have already said, it is cheap among typical diagnostic methods; $34 for each dongle and $2 for each cartridge. It is a “mobile application” i.e. health care workers can go door to door to provide tests, instead of requiring people to come to clinics. It helps in reducing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases from mothers to children. The facilities are outstanding, process is durable, requires little user training, and needs no maintenance or additional manufacturing. Researchers is also studying about other possibilities of device to test other diseases…The technology is so rapidly growing that we can use it to transform our world into better, healthier place just by one finger prick……