There is no need for lab equipment and results are returned in 15 minutes, costing less than €1 per test
Spotted: Mexican biotechnology startup Unima has developed a fast and affordable diagnostic technology that can be used without electricity or an internet connection.
The technology was developed to diagnose tuberculosis, but it can be tailored to build diagnostic tests for other diseases. There is no need for lab equipment and results are returned in 15 minutes, costing less than €1 per test.
The technology uses shark antibodies that have been genetically engineered to recognise specific disease biomarkers in blood, urine and saliva samples. These antibodies are printed on paper microfluidic devices, generating a visual reaction when coming in contact with the patient’s sample. A picture of the results is then loaded into Unima’s smartphone app and evaluated by their algorithm, taking away the need for human interpretation (and human error).
The aim is to refine the number of people needing confirmatory testing, help patients receive treatment sooner and reduce the workload for healthcare professionals. Real-time data resulting from diagnostics is also used by governments, health organisations and pharmaceutical companies to develop healthcare strategies and prevent disease outbreaks.