A Zika Diagnostic for Less Than $5
Dr. Waseem Asghar looking at part of the device that could possibly help detect the Zika virus. Credit: Division of Public Affairs / Florida Atlantic University
A small group of researchers at Florida Atlantic University is developing a small device that could help detect the Zika virus within just a few minutes and at a very low cost that could be available for use as early as next summer.
Florida has the highest number of Zika-related cases--with Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County being among the most affected. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention listed 5,040 virus cases in the United States in the last two years and 1,069 were in Florida. The majority of the cases reported were travel-related.
“This is a disaster for the next generation because a lot of people are being affected, specially the fetus of a pregnant woman and we should be prepared to test people very rapidly to contain this disease,” said Dr. Waseem Asghar, the lead investigator and assistant professor at the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at FAU.
Studies have shown that Zika can cause microcephaly, a condition in which a newborn’s head is smaller than usual because of abnormal brain development.
“People can have a small portable sensor and a small strip where you can put a drop of saliva or urine and you can check to see if someone is affected with the Zika virus or not,” Asghar said.
Asghar was inspired to create this device by technology he and his colleagues have used to detect HIV.
The device or small “chip” as described by Asghar is made out of plastic and transparency papers. It would come with a sensor about the size of a tablet where up to 12 different samples could be loaded and results would be available between 10 to 15 minutes.
The cost of the device would also be significantly lower than the current and most accurate method known as “polymerase chain reaction” (PCR), a method that requires high-skilled staff and which costs $20,000 or more, according to Asghar.
“Because this device is low cost and you don’t need technicians to operate it, we expect it can be used at any place where people don’t have the resources or high-tech labs,” said Asghar. "The selling price will be for less than $5."
The project recently received a $200,000 one-year grant from the Florida Department of Health. The group of researchers hope the device would be available at community health centers and airports next summer.
Innovative Chromatography Technologies to be Discussed at Preconference WorkshopNews
Biopharmaceutical researchers from around the globe will discuss innovative chromatographic approaches and technologies for purifying diverse biomolecules during a preconference workshop sponsored by Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.READ MORE
First Ever Online Event Focused on Cannabis ScienceNews
Analytical Cannabis is pleased to announce that the final line-up of speakers for the first ever cannabis science online event, The Science of Cannabis 2017 has been confirmed.READ MORE
Synpromics Announces Gene Therapy Research Partnership with Solid BiosciencesNews
Synpromics partner with Solid Biosciences ro develop treatment options Duchenne muscular dystrophy.READ MORE
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
13th Edition of International Conference on Pediatric Gastroenterology
Aug 02 - Aug 04, 2018