HIV and STD test are usually carried out in medical facilities by doctors but that might change soon as a new tech innovation allows users to get HIV tested with their mobile phone.
A versatile gadget created by a group of Columbia University experts can screen HIV and syphilis in 15 minutes using just a drop of blood from a finger but the most interesting part is that this device connects directly to a a cell phone or tablet.
Dr. Antonio Urbina, the medical director of The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Institute for Advanced Medicine who was not part of the venture commented on the technology describing it as a game-changer in medicine. According to him the device will set new standards as far as home screening methods are concerned while also shifting people’s attitude towards their own health as they become more empowered to take care of themselves.
Even if there are other self-tests for HIV so far they can only be interpreted in medical labs or by using an oral liquid which costs up to $20,000. But this new gadget is only valued at about around $34. This means it is both cost- reasonable and users can carry it around with them as a portable alternative.
The gadget which is dubbed as a dongle could likewise have a huge effect in nations where costly lab equipment isn’t accessible. Columbia researchers effectively introduced the dongle in Rwanda in a pilot campaign. Health care specialists were given a half an hour crash training before starting to use the gadget on 96 patients at facilities and testing labs. Scientists say that after the screening conducted by Rwanda health care staff, the gadget accurately identified the antibodies and issued a sensitivity score of 92 to 100 percent. The device is specifically designed to be small and light enough to be carried by one hand.
Samuel Sia, the leader of the engineering team noted:
“The test is designed to be used by anyone proficient with a smartphone.”
Sia also emphasized that the gadget, which joins with a cell phone through the sound jack, can recreate tests regularly done on $18,450 worth of medical equipment. However, the device isn’t perfect. The dongle screens for antibodies, so it can’t diagnose HIV in individuals until around a month after they got to be infected. Sia thinks this gadget can likewise increase syphilis diagnosis and reduce the number of deaths.
Scientists also require more time to start a bigger trial and make some tech optimizations. Sia likewise noted that the team’s target is to release a version of the product for the general market in a couple of years. This research was distributed in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Image Source: Medical Express