A new device named “Lab on Chip” has been developed in Canada and can test blood samples on the spot for measles and rubella. Researchers are hopeful that the device will soon be able to test for a wide range of infectious diseases. Taking advantage of the technology known as microfluidics, the device is able to move a drop of blood around the chip to detect antibodies to measles or rubella.
The device has the potential of being able to detect diseases and enhance efforts to prevent or slow outbreaks in vulnerable and low-resource settings like refugee camps.
“Right now, in refugee camps, all tests have to be done several hundred kilometers away… if you can do the test right next to the patient, you can get the information rapidly,” Darius Rackusa post-doctoral researcher in chemistry, told CTV News.
Researchers were able to decrease the cost of the device to about $6 a piece but believe that the price can be lowered to mere cents with future modifications.
photo credit: Lisa Ngo / STAT News