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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More