Research highlight

Making clinical diagnoses affordable

Nature Medicine

August 1, 2011

An inexpensive technology that would allow for early detection of infectious diseases in resource-limited and remote settings is presented in a new study published online this week in Nature Medicine.

A challenge for science and engineering is to develop technologies that improve human health in the poorest regions of the world, which may not have reliable access to lab areas for clinical testing.

Samuel Sia and his colleagues integrated new procedures for manufacturing, fluid handling and signal detection, into a single, economical, easy-to-use assay for infectious diseases — the “mChip” assay. The researchers tested the ‘mChip’ in Rwanda on hundreds of locally collected blood samples and found excellent performance in the diagnosis of HIV and syphilis using only one microliter of blood, with a sensitivity that rivals those of reference clinical assays performed in labs.

doi: 10.1038/nm.2408

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