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
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.