Recent Advances in Point of Care Diagnostic Tools: A Review
Laura Wessels and Haider Raad
DOI : 10.3844/ajeassp.2016.1088.1095
American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Volume 9, Issue 4
Globally, there is a great need for portable, inexpensive diagnostic tools that can provide quick, accurate results using relatively small sample volumes. Point-Of-Care (POC) measurements of human saliva, sweat and/or blood capable of detecting glucose levels, foreign pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and many different viruses (HIV, Ebola, Influenza, etc.) that use microfluidics and optofluidics are close to commercial availability. These diagnostic tools use both optical and electrical methods for the detection and analysis of single biomolecules. The applications extend beyond healthcare and can be used for pathogen detection in aquatic environments such as drinking water. Additional research in handheld Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) offers the possibility for inexpensive diagnosis and treatment of tissue like middle ear infection and breast cancer. Finally, microscopes are also getting smaller and cheaper, with an inexpensive plastic florescence microscope that can quantify white blood cell levels and a suitcase sized microscope that can look at a single drop of blood for a million biomarkers, searching for signs of sepsis and infectious disease. POC devices such as these will provide medical care to poor, remote areas that can be administered by junior physicians or even used for self-diagnosis. In this study, a review of advances in POC devices reported in recent literature is conducted, in order to provide the reader with a thorough description of new diagnostic techniques that have taken place in the last couple of years.
© 2016 Laura Wessels and Haider Raad. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.