|Columbia Unviersity Dongle|
Engineers at New York’s Columbia University piloted in Rwanda a smartphone accessory that uses disposable plastic cassettes with preloaded reagents to perform triplexed immunossay tests for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and syphilis. Known as a “dongle,” this smartphone device replicates mechanical, optical, and electric functions of lab blood tests to perform enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) via a finger prick at the POC within 15 minutes—all without stored energy. Lead researcher Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia, says miniaturization of this technology proves that smartphones can run lab-quality immunoassays. He estimates the dongle will cost $34, much less than the roughly $18,000 price of typical ELISA equipment.
|[image courtesy of SMIKSHA NAYAK/COLUMBIA ENGINEERING]|