Smart Diagnosis: Researchers Work On Smartphone APP That Can Detect HIV And Syphilis
Using smart phones for convenience is going beyond luxury services and informational purposes to using them for diagnosis according to a study cited in The Economist.
This will be made possible by an App developed by researchers at the Columbia University in New York. According to the researchers, the App will be able to detect Syphilis and HIV and is based on the ELISA (for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) principle which is already in use in Medical Diagnostic Laboratories. The test involves taking a blood sample which is placed on a small chip then plugged into a smart phone.
The App analyses the blood sample and displays results after 15 minutes. This is a cutting edge and revolutionary invention in disease diagnosis considering the cost and turnaround time. To equip a diagnostic laboratory with an ELISA machine would cost about $18,000, which is over 500 times the cost of the App. According to its makers, it would cost about $35 to manufacture the smartphone device. The researchers are looking for ways to introduce the invention to the market, after they successfully used it to test for HIV and Syphilis in expectant mothers.
The Descue Medical as a company has made medical technology accessible to people without any medical training, by making use of their mobile phones. They developed the iTest, a device that can be plugged into a phone to perform several types of medical tests including Cholesterol level and influenza, by allowing them to select the test they would like to carry out.
Statistics from the WHO indicate that by 2013, about 19 per cent of the Kenyan population owned a smartphone. This figure is on a continuous increase and with this increase especially among the middle-class consumers in Kenya has placed the country in the forefront on this technology if launched.
Nigeria is also market that will benefit massively from this innovation with the continued increase in the connected class. There are already initiatives to support and encourage the development of innovative solutions in the health sector using technology. With such innovations finding their way into the mobile markets, phone manufacturing and vending make exciting career options, as consumers get more and more reliant on cell phones.