Researchers from Columbia University have apparently created a $34 plastic smartphone STD scanner which would “accurately” identify HIV and syphilis antibodies. The scanner is said to be compatible with Google Android and Apple iPhone smartphones.
In order to perform one of these tests, a pin-prick of blood is needed for the scanner and from there onwards, the app is said to spit out the results in just 15 minutes. It is said that the device is able to replicate the mechanical, optical and electronic functions of a traditional lab-based STD analysis.
“This work is a proof of how technology can improve diagnosis and care, making it faster and simpler and cheaper without compromising the existing quality,” said Sabin Nsanzimana, the Rwanda’s Ministry of Health manager of STDs. Although “it may take time, or bigger studies” before additional knowledge of the dongle is known
However, attaching such a device to a smartphone should have raised concerns on power consumption. This is where the researchers stated that they chose a “one-push vacuum” instead of a power-consuming electrical pump.
The device is said to have been field-tested over two weeks at three health clinics in Kigali, Rwanda. The outcome stated that the accuracy was “on par with ELISA tests, but are significantly cheaper”. This means that similar tests can be completed in remote villages and health clinics.
The ultimate goal of the researchers over at Columbia University is to expand the testing beyond HIV and syphilis. But until then, additional testing could drive the price down while allowing mass adoption of the technology in the developing world, which is a good start.
Thank you Daily Tech for providing us with this information