Diagnostics For All is slated for a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to further develop its postage stamp-sized, paper-based pathogen testing technology.
Using microfluidics, the paper wicks a blood or other bodily fluid sample through the channels to testing zones without relying on pumps or power. The results of the test simply change color, giving doctors immediate results for tests as sophisticated as HIV detection.
The devices don’t need electricity, but the grant will be used to develop technology to embed DFA’s paper devices with electrical circuitry. The company hopes to enable healthcare workers in the developing world to more easily and accurately diagnose HIV and other diseases.
“We’ve been able to harness very high technology but put it onto a simple platform. It’s not just a simple piece of paper it has microfluidic channels in it,” CEO Una Ryan told MassDevice. Ryan is scheduled to speak at the first annual World Health Medical Technology Conference at Boston University May 17.
"We’ve gone the route of trying to make diagnostics for pretty much zero cost, not just cheaper than what we have here. So, we’ve started at paper, which is everywhere, and we’ve used patterned, printed paper for our diagnostic test. This way we have all the sophistication of lab-on-a-chip," Ryan told us.