Pocket-sized V-Chip runs 50 different blood tests

Getting a blood test is a huge pain in the arm. Not only is it a literal pain in the arm, but your blood has to be sent off to a lab somewhere and processed and analyzed and computerized, which is expensive and takes forever. This card, called the V-Chip, can run 50 different blood tests in seconds right before your very eyes, for just $10.

The V-Chip (short for "volumetric bar-chart chip") works by sucking a drop of blood through a zig-zag channel in between two small glass plates. Above the channel are 50 different wells, each of which contains hydrogen peroxide, a dye, an enzyme, and then whatever sorts of antibodies or proteins or DNA or RNA you care about. Simple, portable, cheap, and easy.

So let's say you want one of the wells to be an insulin detector. Great, you preload it with insulin antibodies, and then when you introduce a sample that contains insulin, those antibodies activate the enzyme, which splits the oxygen off of the hydrogen peroxide. The oxygen pushes the dye up the well in proportion to the amount of insulin that's in the sample, and then you can read that result just like a bar graph, using a handy scale on the side of the V-Chip.

Obviously, this isn't going to completely replace lab testing, since you can't get the same levels of accuracy or sensitivity. But for a lot of situations (like figuring out what drug someone has just OD'd on, for example), a simple and straightforward test like the V-Chip can perform is all you need. Watch the video below to see the V-Chip doing its thing.

Nature Communications, via Methodist Health

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