10:16am

Mon August 25, 2014
Science

UTK Researchers Develop Handheld Disease Detector

The disease detector developed by UTK researchers is about the size of a cell phone. Meridian Biosciences has agreed to develop the device for full production.
The disease detector developed by UTK researchers is about the size of a cell phone. Meridian Biosciences has agreed to develop the device for full production.
Credit UTK

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville have developed a device that may make it easier to contain disease outbreaks like the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Professors Jayne Wu and Shigetoshi Eda have developed a handheld device that can detect the presence of an infectious disease in a drop of blood in a matter of minutes.

Dr. Wu says any medical professional can use the device, and it will be especially effective in the field where lab facilities are hard to access.

“If you have a device like this, you can distinguish healthy people and the disease carrier quickly, so you can isolate the disease carrier and also allow the disease to return to their normal life.”

Dr. Wu says the device may soon be able to detect other medical conditions such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. It may also soon be able to detect tainted food.

She says the device should prove valuable during disasters, for biological warfare defense and disease outbreaks like the Ebola epidemic.