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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid