Mexican researchers have developed a portable DNA reader that can be used with smartphones to detect genetic disorders and diagnose disease in a matter of seconds.
“This type of technology will not only help control pandemics, it can prevent the effects of bioterrorism attacks or improve personalized medical attention,” stated researcher Luis Vaca Domínguez in a press release, the scientist that developed this system.
Domínguez, the scientist that developed this system, is from the Cellular Physiology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, Spanish acronym). This system is a microarray that can read up to 600 different genes from either pathogens people that may suffer from a condition.
“This allows us to identify whether these genes have mutations and identify pathogens, such as flu infections and even what subtype of virus it is, for example,” he explained.
This device is a type of casing that inserts into the smartphone, which is then inserted into a shell and is used as a camera to detect genes that may be involved in health problems or have bacteria or viruses.
Depending on the point of entry of the pathogen, users can inject blood, saliva or urine samples into the shell. It takes about one minute for the portable device to read the sample and the molecular diagnosis can be sent to any doctor or hospital around the world.
While it is very expensive to create one of these devices, Domínguez believes that, “Once they begin to be produced in high volumes, they will become more affordable, which is what happened with smartphones.”