A smartphone dongle for diagnosis of infectious diseases at the point of care.
Science Translational Medicine, February 2015
Tassaneewan Laksanasopin, Tiffany W. Guo, Samiksha Nayak, Archana A. Sridhara, Shi Xie, Owolabi O. Olowookere, Paolo Cadinu, Fanxing Meng, Natalie H. Chee, Jiyoon Kim, Curtis D. Chin, Elisaphane Munyazesa, Placidie Mugwaneza, Alex J. Rai, Veronicah Mugisha, Arnold R. Castro, David Steinmiller, Vincent Linder, Jessica E. Justman, Sabin Nsanzimana, Samuel K. Sia
This work demonstrates that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory. This low-cost dongle replicates all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a laboratory-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) without requiring any stored energy; all necessary power is drawn from a smartphone. Rwandan health care workers used the dongle to test whole blood obtained via fingerprick from 96 patients enrolling into care at prevention of mother-to-child transmission clinics or voluntary counseling and testing centers. The dongle performed a triplexed immunoassay not currently available in a single test format: HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis, and nontreponemal antibody for active syphilis infection. In a blinded experiment, health care workers obtained diagnostic results in 15 min from our triplex test that rivaled the gold standard of laboratory-based HIV ELISA and rapid plasma reagin (a screening test for syphilis), with sensitivity of 92 to 100% and specificity of 79 to 100%, consistent with needs of current clinical algorithms. Patient preference for the dongle was 97% compared to laboratory-based tests, with most pointing to the convenience of obtaining quick results with a single fingerprick. This work suggests that coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain laboratory-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones.
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