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Zika test machine needs just a drop of blood

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Zika test machine needs just a drop of blood


Zika may not be the top story on the evening news anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the virus has gone away. Between January and May 24th of 2017, the CDC has reported 121 instances of infected people living in the United States. BluSense, in fact, won a cash prize as part of USAid’s Grand Zika Challenge to develop an effective way of diagnosing the problem.

Once the fingerprick has been taken and drawn up into the plastic cartridge, it is mixed with magnetic nanoparticles. The sample is then loaded into the BluSense machine, which contains a small turntable to centrifuge the sample for nine minutes. Once that’s done, the blood is then scanned — amusingly, with the same sort of blue laser that you’d find in a Blu-ray player — and a result provided.

BluSense’s EVP, Jessie Sun, explained that the company already has validation for its Dengue tests, and is currently working with the FDA on its Zika diagnostics. Sun is confident that the company will breeze through the process, since she says that both are diagnosed in a similar way. If successful, BluSense’s device will enable medical facilities to run the tests for less than $20 per patient. That’s a lot less than some private Zika tests you can get, which run into the hundreds of dollars per person.

Chris Velazco contributed to this report.

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