Handheld Diagnostic Tool for Infectious Diseases

-We want to be able to run our
tests anywhere in the world. So if they’re in a doctor’s office or a patient’s home, it
needs to be as minimal amount of equipment as possible. My lab started working
solely on paper devices where we could do the entire process in a piece of paper without
using any other materials. However, we found that if
we wanna amplify the RNA and we wanna detect as early
as possible in an infection, we’re gonna need a source of heat and we looked at chemical methods, but we ultimately turned to electronics because they’re small and convenient. Here is our original paper device plan and here are the electronics
that go around it. We have some temperature sensors and some printed resisters
that we developed that are able to control the heat process. This is a low-power device
that can perform the reactions in the paper and heat the device as needed and control and stop
and start the fluid flow so that we can run our
assay that takes our sample, captures the HIV, amplifies
the RNA inside of it, and then detects it
downstream on an easy to read lateral flow assay. And these lateral flow assays
are the same exact process as a pregnancy test. There are tests that can run
RNA-based detection of HIV, but they need to be done
in a laboratory setting and right now those are
done with pooled samples of multiple different patients. What we’d like to do is to be
able to take that one sample, run it immediately, and get
that person a result right away. I like the really applied
nature of this work in that we are developing
something from scratch, building it, and we get to
test it with our partners and really take it into clinics. In a very short period of time, we hope that it’s actually
going to be saving lives.

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