Researchers have developed a new biosensing platform that could be used to remotely detect and determine treatment options for HIV, E-coli,Staphylococcus aureas and other bacteria.

Using a drop of blood from a fingerprick, the biosensing platform provides clinically relevant specificity, sensitivity and detection of pathogens from whole blood and plasma.

The thin, lightweight and flexible materials developed by the researchers can be fabricated and operated without the need for expensive infrastructure and skilled personnel, potentially solving real-world healthcare problems for both developed and developing countries. Using this technology, they also have developed a phone app that could detect bacteria and disease in the blood using images from a cellphone that could easily be analysed from anywhere in the world.

The researchers address the limitations of current paper and flexible material-based platforms and explain how they have integrated cellulose paper and flexible polyester films as new diagnostic tools to detect bioagents in whole blood, serum and peritoneal fluid.

They employed three different paper and flexible material-based platforms incorporated with electrical and optical sensing modalities. They were able to demonstrate how these new materials can be widely applied to a variety of settings including medical diagnostic and biology laboratories.

Using paper and flexible substrates as materials for biosensors, Waseem Asghar, assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University, co-first author on the study, and his colleagues have identified a new rapid and cost-effective way to diagnose diseases and monitor treatment in point-of-care settings.

They have been able to show how their new platforms are uniquely able to isolate and detect multiple biotargets selectively, sensitively and repeatedly from diverse biological mediums using antibodies. “There is a dire need for robust, portable, disposable and inexpensive biosensing platforms for clinical care, especially in developing countries with limited resources,” said Asghar.

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