Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Phone Lab
11 March 2015

Phone Lab

From sleep-cycle analysis to calorie tracking, smartphones are becoming increasingly more relevant in healthcare. Now, healthcare workers can have a ‘mini-lab’ on their smartphones with a dongle – a small hardware add-on. A drop of blood from a finger prick is contained within a microfluidic chip and inserted into the dongle. Inside, blood is vacuumed down microscopic channels, and an assay called an ELISA is initiated, aiming to detect three disease markers: one divulging the presence of HIV (virus here shown in red), and two demonstrating syphilis. A positive ELISA causes a colour change, which is picked-up by photocells in the dongle, and results are sent to an app within 15 minutes. In a test of the dongle, which costs less than £30 to manufacture, most patients preferred it to lab-based techniques. Capable of high sensitivity and specificity, the device will allow early and fast diagnosis of disease, especially in rural areas.

Written by Katie Panteli

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