Thumb ring can diagnose sexually-transmitted diseases

By: | Published: August 23, 2015 4:27 PM

A Silicon Valley-based startup has developed the prototype of a thumb ring that can help diagnose sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis in less than a minute.

The Hoope ring has an electric pulse generator to numb the user’s skin. The user then presses a button on the ring, which causes its single-use retractable needle to come out.

That needle is then used to draw a blood sample, which is carried by capillary action to the ring’s lab-on-a-chip.

There, the blood flows through four microfluidic channels, in which it’s exposed to different antigens that have been synthesised to catch antibodies associated with each of the targeted diseases.

If any of those antibodies are present and thus captured, an electrochemical reaction occurs which is detected by the onboard electronics.

The Hoope then wirelessly transmits the data to an app on the user’s smartphone, which tells them what disease has been detected.

The prototype has been produced at Colorado State University and in tests proved to be very reliable for detecting syphilis, ‘Gizmag’ reported.

The ring was designed by a Mexican startup at Silicon Valley. The team includes Mexican mechanical engineer Ernesto Rodriguez Leal, Damel Mektepbayeva, a biotechnologist from Kazakhstan, and Irina Rymshina, a Russian finance expert.

The team is currently working at perfecting the detection of the other three STDs, and are also looking towards adapting it for the detection of allergies, cancer, diabetes and pregnancy.

The device will be manufactured in China and will be available in January 2016 through an Indiegogo campaign. It will first be marketed in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, later in Europe and the US.

It will be priced at USD 50 and will contain a ring and three cartridges.

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