News / Health

New Portable Device Diagnoses HIV, Syphilis

Illustration of blood traveling through microchannels in mChip
Illustration of blood traveling through microchannels in mChip

Scientists have developed an inexpensive, portable blood test kit that can tell within minutes whether a person has HIV or syphilis.  The device was successfully field tested in the African nation of Rwanda, and researchers say it could provide a faster, cheaper and easier way to detect infectious diseases throughout the developing world.

Watch related Vidushi Sinha video report

The mobile microfluidic chip, or mChip, is the brainchild of Samuel Sia, a biomedical engineer at Columbia University in New York.

He says the small plastic device can diagnose HIV and syphilis within 20 minutes, using only a microliter of blood.

“What we’ve done is to miniaturize what is traditionally a complex laboratory blood-based test into something that you can hold in your hand, the size of a credit card, so that you can just finger-prick a drop of blood, put it into the card and about 15 minutes later, you get the results,” he said.

The disposable mChip costs only $1; the entire diagnostic kit costs about $100.  Sia says the mChip was tested on over 400 blood samples at a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda.  

He says the chip was 100 percent accurate in detecting HIV, with only one so-called false positive case in which a volunteer was incorrectly diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS.  In terms of syphilis testing, the mChip accurately detected 94 percent of positive cases with only four false positives out of 67 samples.

Sia says the results were comparable to laboratory testing.

“You really want to make sure you are catching anybody that can possibly have that disease.  And so we were able to do that for both diseases in the same card, which hopefully we can expand upon in the future and have multiple diseases in one card,” Sia said.

Sia says the mChip is a miniaturized version of a full-sized lab, with a tiny blood collection well and chemicals that react to the sample, producing a color-coded result.  

Sia says it works like an ELISA, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which is widely-used to identify the antibodies a patient's immune system produces in response to disease.

The mChip is different than existing rapid tests for HIV and pregnancy, according to Sia, in that it can screen for complex illnesses in remote, resource-poor regions where people don’t have access to a clinic or hospital with laboratory testing.    

In addition, he says the chip has the potential to lower health care costs in developed countries.  Sia is a founder of the company Claros Diagnostics, which is exploring various applications for the mChip and helped develop the kit used in Rwanda.  Last year, the company released a version of the mChip that can help diagnose prostate cancer.

An article describing the mChip is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid