Smartphone Dongle Helps to Detect HIV, Syphilis in Just 15 Minutes


Published Date : Feb 06, 2015

Researchers have invested and developed a low budget smart phone dongle that instantly helps to detect syphilis and HIV from a blood sample on a finger prick in merely 15 minutes. 

The device is a replicate of optical and mechanical and all other electronic functions of a lab-based blood test. It performs like an enzyme (ELISA) that is without any energy stored in it at all. 

The device is developed by an efficient team of workers working under an associate professor at Columbia University (CU). All the required power is drawn from the smartphone. The device can perform a test to detect three infectious disease markers.

Currently, available in a single test format, the device performs non-treponemal antibody and HIV antibody for all active syphilis infections. 

Rwanda healthcare workers approved of the dongle from a test of 96 patients and testing centers. The device easily connects to the smart phone and computer.  

The science of microfluids coupled with advances in consumer electronics can show access to smartphones. This technique can transform health care services industry around the world, added Sia. 

The dongle was intended to be small and light weight. It would have a manufacturing cost of USD 34 or much lower than the USD 18,450 which the ELISA equipment operates.  

The dongle is effective in places that do not have electricity. 

The team of researchers eliminated the existence of one-push vacuum that activates a negative pressure chamber on a cassette. This process needs no maintenance and is durable. The team also removed the battery with the help of audio jack for transmitting power and for data transmission. The benefit of the audio jack is that it is a standardized aspect among smart phones and thus, the dongle can be attached to any compatible smart phone device.