You may not have heard of “on the spot” HIV tests yet, but they’re really starting to cause some excitement in the global health community.
For example, considering that there are 22.5 million people with HIV or AIDS living in remote parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, demand for portable testing devices certainly exists.
It’s mostly because many of these people have no access to labs or hospitals. And those who do have access often have no way of returning for their results weeks later.
But biotech innovator Claros Diagnostics has found a way to skip the lab and bring the testing process right to a patient’s doorstep.
Even better, its new device can detect more than just HIV.
Here’s how it works…
mChip’s True Potential Revealed
Claros Diagnostics’ secret weapon – the “mChip” – boils down all the stages of a traditional lab-based HIV test into a simplified process.
This game-changing device is essentially a “lab on a chip.” And the technology at work here is superior to the competition in almost every way.
It’s Easier: Take a small drop of blood from the patient, inject the blood into the credit-card-sized mChip cartridge, place the cartridge in a portable analyzer and wait for results in just15 minutes.
It’s Cheaper: While standard lab-based HIV tests can cost over $100, the disposable mChip cartridges cost only around $3 each.
It’s More Accurate: Claros Diagnostics tested the mChip in Rwanda for the last four years and it detected HIV-positive cases 100% of the time. Only about 1% of the tests came back as false positives.
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Plus, this portable analyzer does all the work for you, so you don’t need any special training to read test results.
And according to Samuel Sia, a bioengineer and Carlos Diagnostics’ co-founder, the test isn’t limited to HIV. The mChip can also be engineered to spot other infections that are often found in combination with HIV. Like malaria, hepatitis B and C, herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
All on the same test.
In fact, during the trial in Rwanda, the mChip was used to test for HIV and syphilis simultaneously. Amazingly, it was able to pinpoint 94% of the syphilis infections, with only about a 6% rate of false positives.
So considering its speed, convenience, low cost and accuracy, how come mChip isn’t being used everywhere?
Diagnosis Negative… for Now
Well, companies have been slow to show interest in the test, which has made funding it difficult.
But while it’s still a private company, Claros was able to attract venture funding for a similar device that monitors signs of prostate cancer. And that product gained European marketing approval in June.
So I’m convinced that this new product should entice similar attention once a few big time investors realize its true potential.
Bottom line: Any company that’s on the fast track toward solving a problem of this magnitude should certainly be on your radar as the area progresses.