Knowingly, there are endless lists of benefits we have on our smartphone. Aside from helping you learn a new language, brew you a coffee from bed, track your fitness, plan your night out and keep you entertained for hours, now, it has become a mobile diagnostics lab.
A team of researchers from New York’s Columbia University, have taken an ordinary smartphone and turn it into a whole lot smarter device. They created a compact, handheld device that plugs into an iPhone and turns it into a mobile laboratory!
Yes you heard it right! This mobile laboratory: smartphone dongle can now diagnose HIV and Syphilis in 15 minutes using a finger prick of blood.
It’s a game-changer in terms of the (home) diagnostics consumers can do. It’s going to empower individuals to take ownership of their own health,” according to Dr. Antonio Urbina, the medical director of The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Institute for Advanced Medicine.
The device is made for about $34,making it a more affordable and portable option, it can also make a huge impact in countries where expensive lab equipment is not accessible.
The test is designed to be used by anyone proficient with a smartphone. The device, which connects to a smartphone through the audio jack, can replicate tests normally done on $18,450 worth of equipment,” Samuel Sia, the research team leader, said.
Our work shows that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory. Coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain lab-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones. This kind of capability can transform how health care services are delivered around the world.” said Samuel Sia, the lead researcher.
According to a new study published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, the smartphone dongle was tested on 96 patients from Rwanda. The device had a 92-100 percent sensitivity rating when it came to correctly identifying infected patients, but its specificity rating was notably lower at 79-100 percent. That means that some individuals were incorrectly identified as infected even though they were not.
But the gadget isn’t without its faults. The dongle tests for antibodies, so it cannot detect HIV in people until about a month after they become infected,” says Dr. Urbina.
Well, we do hope to see a version of this product in the market in the near future.
via Health Line