Mobile Laboratory Technology Brings Blood Test to You


Mobile-Laboratory-Blood-TestingThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at a new clinical mobile laboratory that could fit in a doctor’s, nurse’s, or paramedic’s pocket and use their smartphone to test blood right wherever you are. This means that the days of making a separate trip to the Lab just to get your blood work done could be a thing of the past. This particular advance creates a pocket lab for ELISA testing.

ELISA stands for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays. These are the standardized lab tests that look for the presence of antibodies for certain diseases. This is how doctors figure out if you have an infection or disease for which we have a test. Up until now, you have needed a big machine in a professional lab to run these tests.

Researchers at UCLA have figured out how to miniaturize the ELISA plate down to what they call a microplate. The tiny plate has room for 96 samples on it which means that you can test for up to 96 diseases per plate. The system they developed uses a combination of the microplate, a smartphone’s camera, processor and a cloud computing system to determine which tests are positive. The current system is more than 98% effective at detecting diseases like Mumps, Measles, or Herpes.

Stay tuned because this could be coming to a healthcare professional’s bag near you very soon. This is also a potentially huge advance for remote diagnosis of emerging infectious diseases like Ebola or the Hanta viruses. Rapid testing and diagnosis in the cases where these diseases present is key to effectively quarantining patients early in the outbreak, limiting the spread of the disease. Stay tuned here to for more on this in the future as it continues to develop.


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