New Portable Device Allows Users to Quickly Diagnose Infectious Diseases
Engineers at the University of Cincinnati have developed a device that “is sensitive enough to detect active malarial infection” and which can also be “‘easily customized for different biomarkers’ to identify other diseases like HIV, Lyme disease, or coronavirus as well as to measure hormone levels related to stress, anxiety, and depression,” IFLScience.com reported.
UC professor Chong Ahn designed a tiny portable lab device that plugs into a users’ phone, connecting it automatically to a doctor’s office through a custom app. A single drop of blood or saliva is all the device needs to diagnose an infectious disease.
“Everybody has a phone – more than 3 billion people,” Ahn said in a statement. “So how can we use that technology to test for infectious diseases such as coronavirus? It’s a rapid diagnostic tool you can use at home. Right now it takes several hours or even days to diagnose in a lab, even when people are showing symptoms. The disease can spread.”
The smartphone powers the device displays the readings, and stores the data. “The performance is comparable to laboratory tests. The cost is cheaper. And it’s user-friendly,” Ahn said. “We wanted to make it simple so anyone could use it without training or support.” The researchers hope that this accurate, inexpensive, easy-to-use solution will help diagnose conditions earlier and improve patient treatment.