Taiwan invents groundbreaking device to diagnose dengue and zika in 10 minutes

All it takes is a drop of blood

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The rapid test device for dengue and zika diagnosis (Image courtesy of BluSense Diagnostics)

The rapid test device for dengue and zika diagnosis (Image courtesy of BluSense Diagnostics)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A portable device capable of identifying dengue fever in 10 minutes with 90 percent accuracy will be introduced to the market in Taiwan this August, according to the company which developed the product.

BluSense Diagnostics (柏勝生技), a start-up assisted by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) under the “MOST Germination Program (研發成果萌芽計畫),” unveiled the product which can determine from a drop of blood whether a person has contracted mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, zika, or Japanese encephalitis.

The test result – out in less than 10 minutes -- is claimed to be able to achieve 90 to 95 percent laboratory-grade accuracy, reported CNA.

According to Executive Vice President Jessie Sun (孫偉芸) of BluSense Diagnostics, traditionally it takes 4 to 5 hours at the labs to diagnose dengue fever in a costly way. Screening tests, another method for the disease’s diagnosis, take only 20 minutes but must be performed by professionals and do not promise a high level of accuracy.   

The innovative gadget, set to be put into commercial production in July or August in Taiwan, has the potential of bringing down the cost and time spent on identifying dengue fever, an infectious disease the World Health Organization warns poses great risks to over 120 countries, she added.

The MOST Germination Program, having attracted NT$9 billion (US$301.5 million) in investments from the private sector, has provided incubation services for 45 startups.