$34 Diagnostic Tool for STDs Plugs into Smartphone, Rivals $18,000 Lab Equipment

February 5, 2015 4:43 PM

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Public health workers in Africa place HIV and syphilis at the top of their lists of diseases they see among pregnant women, and a new tool recently tested in Rwanda may help ease their diagnostic burden. The portable device, which plugs into a smartphone’s audio jack, performs three tests (one for HIV, two for syphilis) using just a fingerprick of blood, and displays results in 15 minutes.

In their report, the inventors estimate the tool’s cost at $34 plus the cost of a smartphone. They say it provides comparable results to gold-standard lab tests, whose cost they estimate at $18,450 plus the cost of a computer.

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