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Diagnostics Point of care testing, Technology and innovation

Point-of-Care Testing with Silicon Lab-on-a-Chip

An infectious disease micro-laboratory – not long ago, a concept you might think only possible for a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids reboot. But researchers at Imperial College London have developed a disposable silicon chip that performs point-of-care, micro-qPCR testing for bacterial infection (1). Silicon chips are typically expensive to manufacture and production requires a cleanroom, but this chip can be developed in a standard laboratory – reducing cost and time to produce.

“Rather than sending swabs to the lab or going to a clinic, the lab could come to you on a fingernail-sized chip,” said lead researcher Firat Güder (2). “You would use the test much like how people with diabetes use blood sugar tests, by providing a sample and waiting for results – except this time it’s for infectious diseases.”

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  1. E Nunez-Bajo et al., Nat Commun, 11, 6176 (2020). PMID: 33268779.
  2. Imperial College London (2020). Available at
About the Author
Liv Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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