Nanotechnology and microfluidics are incorporated in the point-of-care (POC) system to enhance the detection sensitivity and reduce the amount of blood sample needed. Compared to existing methods being used in the healthcare industry, this system is faster and more compact, thereby enabling it to perform point-of-care detection at well-planned locations, such as at doctor’s office or hospital accident & emergency (A&E) department to deliver instant results, or at rural areas where medical resources are limited.
This standalone fully automatic point-of-care diagnostic prototype includes a nanosensor chip, microfluidic solution dispensation system, optical source and detector, and a control cum switching software program, which are incorporated within a small footprint to provide user-friendly and sensitive procalcitonin detection. The prototype takes only 50 microliters of sample, and within 30 mins, it provides the quantified procalcitonin concentration in blood at a detection limit of 1 ng/ml. This detection limit meets the sensitivity required by clinicians for real-time diagnosis and treatment, and the cost per test on this prototype is at S$10, several times cheaper than the procalcitonin tests conducted in central laboratories using bulky equipment.