Columbia University Medical Center

Handheld Device Brings HIV Testing to the Field

Researchers at Columbia Engineering and the Mailman School’s International Center for Aids Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) field-tested a low-cost “lab on a chip” in Rwanda that allows for fast HIV testing in remote areas.

The Mailman School reports that Samuel K. Sia, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a way to check a patient’s HIV status with just a finger prick and synchronize the results instantaneously with central healthcare records. This device works 10 times faster, the researchers say, than the benchtop ELISA, a broadly used diagnostic technique.

The lab-on-a-chip device was field-tested in Rwanda by a collaborative team from the Sia lab at Columbia Engineering and ICAP at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

“This is an important step forward for us toward making a real impact on patients,” says Jessica Justman, MD, senior technical director at ICAP and associate clinical professor of medicine in epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “And with the real-time data upload, policymakers and epidemiologists can also monitor disease prevalence across geographical regions more quickly and effectively.”

Read more from The Mailman School of Public Health.

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