Rapid infectious diseases diagnostics using Smartphones

Ann Transl Med. 2015 Sep;3(15):215. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2015.07.07.


The "Smartphone" is an almost universal possession in high-income populations, and is rapidly becoming so in lower-income regions, particularly among urban populations, and serves social networking and a quest for information and knowledge. The field of infectious disease diagnostics is at a potential watershed moment, with the essential building blocks for the development of diagnostic assays being ever more available and affordable, which is leading to creative innovative approaches to developing much-needed accurate and simple point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tools for high disease burden, low-income settings. We review the importance and implications of a paper published in Science Translational Medicine on the development of a smartphone-powered and -controlled multiplex immunological assay that tests for HIV and syphilis simultaneously. This is reviewed in the context of other prototype smartphone-enabled/assisted diagnostic devices, and how such developments might shape the future of the POC diagnostics field.

Keywords: HIV; Smartphone; TB; diagnosis; diagnostics; helminth; microscope; point-of-care (POC); polymerase chain reaction (PCR).