Smartphone accessory puts HIV diagnosis in doctors' pockets

People living in far-flung locations, especially in developing nations, could always use affordable tests for various diseases that enable remote diagnosis. Take for instance, this new two-part biosensing platform developed by a team of scientists from Florida Atlantic University, which can detect E. coli, staph and even HIV with just a drop of the patient's blood. We say "two-part," because it's comprised of (1) a cheap, thin, flexible film and (2) a smartphone app. Each film detects a different disease, which it identifies from the patient's blood. If the bacteria or virus being tested for is present, the blood gets dyed a different color by nanoparticles.

If a testing center doesn't have anyone qualified to diagnose diseases, personnel can take pictures of the test results and send them to medical professionals anywhere in the world via the app. These pros can compare the results against control samples through the app, as well. The researchers believe the technology could be adapted to diagnose more illnesses or even to test for pathogens in food and water. For now, you can read about what the team has accomplished and the work that went into the platform in Scientific Reports.