The current medical diagnostics industry in India operates on a decentralized model, requiring patients to undergo a multi-step process to obtain test results. This results in a large time delay between the acquisition of a blood sample and the delivery of results to the patient, and an additional patient visit to obtain the test results and reducing patient compliance. This is especially a concern in rural areas, where patients live long distances from clinics.
The aim of this project is to decentralize testing by developing a point-of-care diagnostics platform that can be used in a local clinic. We are working in conjunction with Achira Labs, a Bangalore-based company that creates and manufactures diagnostic devices in India. By using hydrogels in a microfluidic device as the diagnostic platform, our goal is to develop automated diagnostic devices that can provide high sensitivity with short assay times, allowing a technician to run the assay in-house while the patient waits.
Our initial focus is on diagnostic devices for analysis of thyroid stimulating hormone from patient serum, to address the need of the ~130 million people in India suffering from hypothyroidism, an estimated 43 million of whom are undiagnosed. After this initial target, we plan to expand the technology to become an immunoassay platform that can run several assays from a blood sample, including panels for thyroid and liver function and other common immunoassays. This will allow local clinics to move immunoassay testing in-house, delivering faster results to the patient.
Photo courtesy of Achira Labs.