Updated on 6 September 2012
Funded by Nathadur Holdings, Achira Labs recently won a three-year $1 million grant at the Grand Challenges Canada competition for their idea for a fabric diagnostic chip, which is the second platform under development. The highly innovative idea germinated out of the need to use a local and reliable way to manufacture microfluidic chips, which are difficult to produce on a large scale.
Specifically designed keeping in mind the field testing in public health initiatives, the broad principle in the Fab Chips, as they are called, is to take silk yarn and coat it with reagents and then weave it into a cloth. Silk being a polypeptide has interesting possibilities for conjugation with other proteins. The result of the test is in the form of a simple visual readout. These fabric chips can be used for detecting antigens for HIV and syphilis during standard blood banking tests. These chips can be made very quickly allowing the production to be very scalable.
Dr Dendukuri adds that further research is being envisaged for developing these fabric chips for diseases specific to India, such as leishmania and malaria. He says the company should be able to market the product in the next two years.