The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has licensed an innovative point-of-care diagnostic device to Vortex BioTech, a Knoxville-based start-up company that focuses on in-vitro diagnostic technologies.
Most diagnostic devices on the market today are expensive and can take hours or even several days to provide results. Since 2009, Jayne Wu, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, and Shigetoshi Eda, professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries at the UT Institute of Agriculture, have been collaborating to develop a low-cost diagnostic device that is easy to use, portable, and can detect infectious diseases, pathogens, and physiological conditions in humans and animals in a matter of minutes.
The device’s rapid response time is just one of several benefits. It’s small, about the size of a smartphone, and its simple operation means there are fewer steps involved for sample preparation and use, leading to reduced risk of user error. These features make the device accessible to a greater number of healthcare professionals and facilitate its use in hospital settings as well as remote locations without easy access to medical facilities. It is also affordable. Compared to similar diagnostic tests that cost $10 – $100 per sample and require the use of expensive benchtop equipment, this reusable, handheld device will only cost a few hundred dollars and uses a microchip that will cost only a few dollars per sample.