Updated on 6 December 2012
Ms Tan said that, "Accurately identifying TB strains, its mutant variants and its non-TB cousins that closely mimic TB symptoms, is a long process that can take up to eight weeks with conventional methods. VereMTB cuts the waiting time to less than 3 hours and identifies even more strains than the 8-week method."
A lab-on-a-chip device has the potential to accurately process and analyze minute patient samples in form of human blood, serum or respiratory swabs on a single chip. A lab-on-chip diagnostic reduces the time, invasive approach and risk of cross-contamination. Due to its compact size, the system can be deployed in a wide range of settings at point-of-need. It can be used at clinics or fields that allow faster diagnosis of masses at remote areas.
A biochip is a collection of miniaturized test sites (microarrays) arranged on a solid platform that allows multiple tests to be performed at the same time with increased efficiency and higher speed. According to BCC Research, the global market value for biochip products was estimated at $2.6 billion in 2009, and is expected to increase to nearly $6 billion in 2014 and consequently, lab-on-a-chip products, is expected to reach $2.1 billion in 2014 which was valued at $817.6 million in 2009.
India based Achira, a start-up company, is also developing a platform based on lab-on-chip concept for the diagnosis of disorders associated with thyroid or female infertility. The tests linked to these disorders can be easily multiplexed allowing multiple parameters to be tested using a minute amount of patient's sample blood or urine.
Dr Dhananjay Dendukuri, co-founder and CEO of Achira Labs, explains, "The idea is to remove testing from a centralized paradigm and move it to the doctor's office. The sample, along with the buffer, would be loaded on the chip by a technician, which would then be fed into the reader. The microfluidic chip, which is smaller than a credit card, would have channels etched on them, through which the sample will flow."