A lab chip that could save your life

A drug test that could change modern medicine: a device called the mChip could change the way scientists test for HIV and syphilis.

What if there was a drug test that could change modern medicine? According to a new trial published in Nature Medicine, a device called the mChip could change the way scientists test for HIV and syphilis.

Previous technology have used lateral blood flow tests, which are easy to use, but limited in performance.

In an interview with SmartPlanet, study researcher Samuel Sia, a biomedical engineer at Columbia University, spoke about the benefits of the mChip. According to Sia, the device could produce HIV results within 20 minutes.

“We have engineered a disposable credit card-sized device that can produce blood-based diagnostic results in minutes,” said Samuel Sia.

“The idea is to make a large class of diagnostic tests accessible to patients in any setting in the world, rather than forcing them to go to a clinic to draw blood and then wait days for their results," Sia said.

The trial for this device took place in Rwanda, where a team of researchers tested out the effectiveness of the mChip. Study results showed 100-percent detection of HIV-positive cases. The study also noted one false positive was reported in a small number of participants. Additionally, the study noted for the duplex test for HIV and syphilis:

The duplex test as conducted in the field performed similarly to lab-based reference tests for these two diseases.

According to Nature Medicine, researchers said:

Current rapid HIV tests require subjective interpretation of band intensities by the user that can result in false positives in real-world settings.

An ultimate goal of this research is to develop a device for infectious disease screening of pregnant women located in remote areas to prompt early treatment

Sia predicted costs for the mChip ranged between two to three dollars for the consumer.

In the future, researchers hope the mChip can be used for diseases such as hepatitis, herpes and malaria.

Image: Flickr via pandora_666

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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