A new handheld device from the U.K. claims it will be able to analyze DNA samples to diagnose malaria and other infectious diseases.
Newcastle company QuantuMDX is currently developing the Q-POC point of care device, which it claims will be able to make an accurate diagnosis- the same as would be made in a full-scale laboratory- in under 20 minutes.
The handheld device will be deployed for use in developed and developing countries to make diagnoses through affordable means. The company asserts the Q-POC can be used in “every type of global setting,” including clinics, laboratories, hospitals, and field working environments. It is also said to be cabaple of prescribing treatment plans for infected patients.
“We want to put a full diagnostic test into the palms of health professionals’ hands,” QuantuMDX CEO Elaine Warbuton told Live Science.
The current prototype is a bit smaller and thicker than the iPad, but the company hopes to reduce the size to that of an iPad Mini in roughly six months.
Doctors using the device would take a blood sample from the patient using a disposable cartridge that is inserted into the Q-POC for analysis.
Traditional malaria testing practices are done in full-scale specialized labs and can mean days, even weeks of waiting for results from a doctor. Machinery used in such testing is costly, with devices priced over $10,000.
The Q-POC hopes to improve treatment through faster, easier access to testing results in all areas of the world where these types of labs are not available.
The company is in the process of launching an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise money for clinical trials with its new Q-POC device.