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Device invented that can detect infectious disease in minutes

March 19, 2012
"This device has the potential to save a lot of lives by saving time in detection. It also saves a lot of money as it is cheaper to detect diseases than the system that is currently being used since we do not have to send them to a lab and have the sample be scrutinized by technicians."
- Jayne Wu, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Infectious diseases can spread very rapidly, so quickly identifying them can be crucial to stopping an epidemic. However, current testing for such diseases can take hours and days. But not for much longer.

The device can be used by any health care professional, anywhere. All that's needed is a droplet of blood to place on a microchip within the device.

The microchip is treated with disease-specific antigens-a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body-and captures disease-specific antibodies in the blood. If the antigens and antibodies match, then the device tells the health care provider that the patient or animal is infected.

This happens in a matter of minutes. So far the device has been used to detect tuberculosis in humans and wild animals, as well as Johne's disease in cattle.

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