Researchers Unveil Phone Dongle That Tests For HIV & Syphilis In 15 Minutes

Via Science Daily:

A team of researchers, led by Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test. Specifically, it performs an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone. It performs a triplexed immunoassay not currently available in a single test format: HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis, and non-treponemal antibody for active syphilis infection.

The device is estimated to have a production cost of $34, versus the $18K machine typically used to perform ELISA tests. Field testing was completed in Rwanda and funding was provided by the Gates Foundation, among others. (Tipped by JMG reader Alan)