A team of researchersat 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.
“Our work shows that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory,” says head of the project. “Coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain lab-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones. This kind of capability can transform how health care services are delivered around the world.”