Tuesday June 25, 2019
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Cellphone-based tech could cut lab visits for blood tests

The portable MELISA weighs less than half a kg, and the researchers believe that it has the potential help older patients suffering chronic conditions and those across the world

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Blood Tests now available on mobile phones.
Blood Tests now available on mobile phones.
  • Researchers have developed a cellphone-based blood test
  • This can save visits to doctors
  • The technology is called Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

Researchers have developed a cellphone-based blood test technology that can provide immediate results in the comfort of one’s home or a doctor’s clinic, thereby cutting visits to the laboratory.

In a paper published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the researchers detailed a mobile version of the “Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay” (ELISA), the gold standard technique used to detect the presence of an antibody or antigen.

This test will save visits to the hospital. Pixabay

“ELISA is an important technology for biochemical analysis of proteins and hormones and is critical for the diagnosis of many diseases, such as HIV and Lyme Disease,” said corresponding author Anna Pyayt, Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, US.

“But the machines required for the incubation and reading are expensive and bulky,” Pyayt said. Instead of sending patients to a laboratory, the new cellphone-based technology – Mobile Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (MELISA) — allows for the very same test to be conducted in the doctor’s office, clinic or even in a remote area.

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“The MELISA allows patients to undergo testing and obtain results at point-of-care,” Pyayt said. The device accurately measures progesterone levels, a key hormone that impacts female fertility and is indicative of some cancers.

It consists of a water bath heater that incubates samples at a target temperature and analyses them via images taken by mobile phone. The device uses colour analysis to determine the RGB (red, green, blue) colour components of each sample. The blue colour component is used for further analysis due to its sensitivity to the changes in progesterone concentration.

blood type
Thi is a revolutionary invention. Pixabay

“It is designed to make biomedical testing simple and affordable. When low cost testing can be integrated with routine clinic visits, this would greatly improve the quality of healthcare and detect worrisome signs earlier,” Pyayt added. The portable MELISA weighs less than half a kg, and the researchers believe that it has the potential help older patients suffering chronic conditions and those across the world. IANS

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Pakistani Doctors Blame Quacks for Alarming Rise in HIV Cases: Report

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN

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HIV
Nearly 40 individual HPV types linked to HIV infection. Pixabay

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has blamed quack doctors practicing without training and professional certification for an alarming rise in the number of HIV positive patients in the country, the media reported on Wednesday.

The doctors associated with the PMA said that the quacks, especially fake dentists, spread the virus by using instruments that were not sterilized, adding that despite free-of-cost availability of life-saving antiretroviral drugs at government hospitals, mortality ratio among patients carrying the virus was also increasing.

An alarming surge in HIV cases has been witnessed in five districts of Pakistan’s Punjab province, with 70 to 90 cases being reported monthly at the main government health facility in Faisalabad city, Dawn News reported.

Earlier this month, an international team of experts from the World Health Organization kicked off an investigation into the sudden HIV outbreak in Pakistan’s Sindh province after over 700 people were diagnosed with the virus in a matter of weeks, most of them were children.

HIV
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Following the outbreak, authorities launched a crackdown on unqualified doctors as well as illegal blood banks and laboratories said to be involved in spreading the disease. At least 17 quack doctors were arrested and more than 70 clinics in Larkana district were shut down, according to Xinhua news agency.

According to the PMA, over 600,000 quacks are currently practicing in the country with more than 80,000 based in Punjab province alone.

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The association demanded the government to make all-out efforts to stop the menace of quackery in the country.

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN. (IANS)