Paper Microfluidic Devices Offer New Potential for Affordable Point-of-Care Tests for Use in Developing Countries That Have Few Clinical Laboratories
Paper-based devices could perform complex, multistep diagnostic tests at a fraction of the cost of traditional medical laboratory analysis
Many research teams are racing to create paper-based devices for medical laboratory tests. Their primary goal is develop a cheap, fast, reliable way to perform diagnostic testing in third world settings, where modern clinical laboratories are few and far between. One development team is working to combine lab-on-a-chip technologies with the low cost of paper-based platforms.
Meanwhile, over the past decade, point-of-care testing (POCT) has revolutionized diagnosis and treatment options for a myriad of conditions. In developing regions or remote areas, low-cost POCT improves accessibility to vital tests for infectious diseases, such as HIV, Malaria, and Ebola, as well as acute medical conditions, such as sepsis.
In the past eight years, Dark Daily has reported many times on the emergence of new POCT devices. From lactic acid screening to the lab-in-a-needle, which is used for detecting liver toxicity, the ability to produce a quick and accurate diagnosis without intensive clinical laboratory testing is growing.
However, one area where many POCT devices face challenges is in surviving extended environmental exposure. This does not pose an issue in major research hospitals or health systems. However, the consequences can be severe when considering the often harsh, resource-limited conditions of developing countries—one area in which POCT stands to offer the greatest value. (more…)