When secluded regions with limited health facilities are struck by an epidemic, they need wearable diagnostic equipment that works outside a healthcare facility.
As demand for such equipment grows, EPFL researchers have developed a low-cost and portable microfluidic diagnostic device. It has been tested on Ebola and can be used to detect many other diseases.
At EPFL, a new type of microfluidic platform has come out of the Laboratory of Biological Network Characterization (LBNC), headed by Sebastian Maerkl. It is a portable device that runs on battery power and is completely self-sustained. It operates seamlessly with inexpensive microscopes and provides very high levels of accuracy and detection. The platform, which is described in a recent ACS Nano article, can quantify up to 16 different molecules — or biomarkers — in a tiny amount of blood (less than 0.005 milliliters). The biomarkers are usually enzymes, proteins, hormones or metabolites and the concentration of these molecules in the blood provides precise information on the patient’s health condition.
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