You might have heard in the news that some patient died because of wrong diagnosis. Or you might have gone for a medical test and since you were not satisfied, you would have gone for a second test. This is a very common phenomena. Getting the right diagnosis at the right time has been a serious cause of concern.
So working towards this effect, scientists have developed a new dipstick technology that enables pathogen detection and the rapid diagnosis of human, animal and plant diseases in even the most remote locations.
The technology has been developed by researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia. Using this technology, researchers could extract DNA and RNA from living organisms in as little as 30 seconds without specialized equipment or personnel.
"We have successfully used the dipsticks in remote plantations in Papua New Guinea to diagnose sick trees, and have applied it to livestock, human samples, pathogens in food, and in detecting environmental risks such as E coli- contaminated water," said Jimmy Botella, Professor at Queensland.
"This technology will give people in developed and developing nations a new way of tackling a range of agricultural, health and environmental problems," said Botella, who led the research.
Current commercial kits could isolate DNA and RNA through a long and cumbersome process requiring specialised laboratory equipment that was impractical in the field.
The research team initially developed the dipstick technology for particular plants and later found it could purify DNA from many agriculturally important species. "We found it had much broader implications as it could be used to purify either DNA or RNA from human blood, viruses, fungi and bacterial pathogens from infected plants or animals," Botella said.
The technology eliminates the need for a specialised laboratory for sample preparation, and is a lot simpler, faster and cheaper than anything else available, making diagnostics accessible to everyone, Botella said.
"Our dipsticks, combined with other technologies developed by our group, mean the entire diagnostic process from sample collection to final result could be easily performed in a hospital, farm, hotel room or even a remote area such as a tropical jungle," he said.
The research was recently published in the journal PLOS Biology.
(With Agency Inputs)