Researchers in Singapore have developed a portable device that can accurately screen for several diseases and infections.

Envision (enzyme assisted nanocomposites for visual recognition of nucleic acids) platform was developed by researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS). According to the press release, the device follows three key steps in screening diseases: target recognition, target independent signal enhancement and visual detection.

NUS researcher Dr. Lim Geok soon said that the device “uses a unique set of molecular switches composed of enzyme DNA nanostructures to accurately detect molecular information and convert and amplify it into visible signals for disease diagnosis.”

“Each test is placed in a small plastic chip pre loaded with a DNA molecular machine designed to identify disease-specific molecules,” the press release said “The chip is then placed in a general-purpose signal box, which contains another DNA molecular machine, which is responsible for generating visual signals when disease-specific molecules are detected.”

The researchers tested the performance of the device against human papillomavirus, accurately detected different subtypes of the same disease, and found differences in specific subtypes to identify other infections.

The device takes 30 minutes to an hour to detect the presence of the disease and costs less than S $1 (73 cents). If a disease is indeed detected, you can use your smartphone to further analyze the results.

Shao Huilin, head of the research team, said in a press release: “The envision platform is very sensitive, accurate, fast and low-cost. It works at room temperature and does not need a heater or special pump, so it is very portable. With the invention, it can be tested at care points such as community clinics or hospital wards, so that disease monitoring or treatment can be carried out in time to achieve better health results.”

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