Monday, August 1, 2011

A Cheaper And More Accessible Blood Test

A new credit card sized and portable blood testing kit has been making its rounds in Rwanda with remarkable results. The mChip is much cheaper and just as reliable and accurate as hospital lab tests for detecting diseases such as syphilis and HIV. It was developed by Samuel Sia, a professor at Columbia University, and funded by the National Institute of Health and the Wallace Coulter Foundation. The mChip has been put through clinical trials in Rwanda where it reported nearly 100% accuracy (they tested patients already known to be HIV positive and only had one false result). This blood test will no doubt make a huge impact for those living in remote areas. Instead of having to wait for days for a blood test report from a hospital, a person can now have near instantaneous results. Developers have estimated its cost at only a couple of dollars per unit. Sia, the lead developer, hopes especially to use this to diagnose pregnant women in remote, poor areas who otherwise would not have access to a hospital for testing. If caught early HIV positive mothers could be prevented from transmitting the virus to their children. The next step is finding a company to manufacture and distribute within the next couple of years. If you'd like to read more you can check out these articles:
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/190205/20110801/study-low-cost-disposable-blood-cards-to-offer-easy-hiv-and-syphilis-checks-in-developing-countries.htm
http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/hiv-testing-cheap-accurate-with-new-portable-blood-test-kit
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14361017

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