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Lab-on-a-chip identifies 70,000 pathogens

16 Apr 2013  | Elmie Gonzales

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Scientists from the Genome Institute of Singapore have successfully created a lab-on-a-chip that can detect 70,000 viruses and bacteria. Called the PathChip, the device can identify pathogens within 24 hours.

According to The Straits Times, lab tests currently available can only be test one infectious disease at a time and will cost anywhere between $20 to $200 each. These test kits are only able to test less than 50 pathogens and that each kit focuses on specific groups. In contrast, PathChip will cost $450 in the lab.

PathChip uses DNA probes to identify pathogen genome parts being tested. The information is then fed into a computer algorithm. As long as the pathogen genomes are in public databases and the computer program regularly updated, PathChip will be able to identify them.

It took PathGen DX directors Dr Christopher Wong, Dr Martin Hibberd and Dr Ken Sung to develop PathChip. They were inspired by 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, when Dr Wong discovered that there was no test available for the new virus.

PathChip is currently only available for research use.

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