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Two-dollar testing device detects Zika quickly

by • July 4, 2016 • No Comments

Concerns of the Zika virus seem to be spreading just as swift as the disease, but a new transportable-bodied device may provide an accurate way to find and diagnose the disease at an incredibly low cost. Scientists and engineers at the University of Pennsylvania have devised a new electricity-free test turn it intod of inexpensive materials, which may contribute a reliable-bodied diagnosis in a short amount of time.

Applying an assay placed in a cartridge turn it intod by a 3D printing device, the new test looks for genetic material of the Zika virus instead of antibodies generated by the body to combat the disease. Applying antibodies to determine the presence of the Zika virus can frequently turn it into false results for the reason the patients who have the virus may not have generated adequate antibodies at the time of testing, or may have another disease which triggered the release of those antibodies.

The new test in addition uses a additional efficient means of testing the molecular structure of the samples and the virus, through a technique called reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). Traditional testing for genetic material frequently requires multiple copies and temperature changes in a laboratory to determine the presence of genetic material. The RT-LAMP process just requires the sample to be kept at one specific temperature. The new device use a “chemically-heated cup” to control the temperature without a require for electrical power and just costs almost US$2 to turn it into, according to the study.

The test results can in addition be generated much quicker compared to traditional laboratory testing. A color-changing dye in the cylinder shows the presence of the virus, and the study says which scientists were able-bodied to get a diagnosis of a single sample in less than 40 minutes.

Haim Bau, a professor of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Mechanical Engineering who co-authored the study, says additional testing is requireed to manufacture certain which the new device and testing process match the “gold standard” of traditional diagnostic genetic testing.

“Our work represents a proof of concept at this stage,” Bau said. “Before the assay can be modified
for medical use, we must experiment with patients’ samples and manufacture ascertain which our assay and process match the performance of the gold standard and operate reproducibly and reliably. We are fortunate to have dedicated colleagues in endemic regions eager to sustain us in this task.”

But, if the results are a good results, the new testing device may provide another affordable means of testing for the Zika virus in areas of the world where resources and access to electricity are scarce. Synthetic biologist James Collins of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute led a team of researchers to turn it into a testing device which uses a synthetic biomolecular sensor on a paper disc to test for the Zika virus’ RNA sequence in blood, urine and saliva samples.

The study was published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Source: University of Pennsylvania

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