A diagnostic device called the mChip (mobile microfluidic chip) allows for early detection of infectious diseases in resource-limited and remote regions, according to researchers from the United States and Rwanda (Chin CD et al. Nat Med. 2011;17:1015-1019).
This handheld device, developed by researchers at Columbia University in New York City, is a lab-on-a-chip that integrates sample processing, fluid handling, and signal detection into a single point-of-care assay. Researchers evaluated the device in Rwanda on hundreds of human blood samples. In 2 separate groups of samples, they were able to identify infection with HIV in about 20 minutes using only about 1 μL of unprocessed whole blood. They also used the mChip to perform a combined HIV and syphilis test on another group of samples; the duplex test performed as well as reference laboratory-based immunoassays for these 2 diseases.
Friedrich MJ. Lab-on-a-Chip. JAMA. 2011;306(11):1191. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1308