Using a Smartphone to Detect Zika?

The threat of Zika has become worldwide, and because of that we have some of the worlds greatest mind at work to help develop techniques to protect us from this vector borne disease.  Unfortunately the Zika virus has been tied to a surge in microcephaly cases in infants.  Zika symptoms are similar to the Flu, however for a diagnosis your doctor would need to take a blood test or urine test.  So what happens if you don’t have the means for these lab test?

A smartphone-based diagnostic platform for rapid detection of Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses.” – The Sandia Team

Affordable. Under $100 cost

Scientist and researchers from Sandia National Laboratorieshave developed a method to test for some of the most dangerous vector borne viruses: Zika, Chickungunya, Dengue.  Uniquely, this new medical testing equipment uses a smartphone and is about the size of a microwave.  Equally important, it has a cost under $100 and generates results in 30 minutes. In light of these advancements, clinics in developing countries will have the means necessary to rapid-test patients affordably.  (Previous testing equipment cost approximately $20,000 and could take up to 3 days for results.)  The key to this device is utilizing the smartphone for the equipments interface, and optimizing the cameras sensors’ to run the analysis.  Furthermore, this new device is battery powered and completely mobile for testing in the field.

Smartphones making real impact

Smartphones are starting to have a real impact on the medical field.  Of Course Sandia National Laboratories isn’t the only research team using smartphones as a medical platform.  Similarly  The University of Cambridge developed and app using test strips to monitor certain medical conditions in 2014.  And in 2015, researchers from Columbia University developed an app that cold test for deadly disease HIV for as low as $34 with results available in 15 minutes.  The technology that utilizes smartphones goes way past Twitter & Facebook.  These apps are the ones really making a difference in the world.  For more information on this technology read Sandia Labs News Release.