Want to test yourself for HIV? You may soon be able to do that with your smartphone.
A team at Columbia University has created a smartphone attachment that is capable of testing blood for HIV and syphilis, relaying those results through an app.
The $34 “dongle” attachment, which delivers results in only 15 minutes, replicates finger-prick blood testing performed by devices that typically cost over $18,000, according to Science Daily.
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The attachment is able to analyze the blood sample and report the presence of HIV and syphilis antibodies. You can see it in action in the video above.
“The results that we have gotten with dongles are comparable to results that you can get in the lab,” Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and the leader of the team, told NBC.
It also receives power and information through a smartphone’s audio jack, making it compatible with many different brands of smartphones.
Sia said the device could mean preventing millions in impoverished countries from being infected by sexually transmitted diseases.
“A technology like this is useful around the world,” Sia told NBC. “A lot of patients don’t have access to these tests at all. It could make a huge impact in developing countries and that was our motivation.”
The Columbia University team obtained funding from a Saving Lives at Birth transition grant (USAID, Gates Foundation, Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank) and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
Sia said the team hopes to take the device to the market for both global health and for consumer health back in the U.S.