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Handheld Pathogen Sensor Could Diagnose HIV in 30 Minutes

Working with support of the Bill & Medlinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenge to develop field-worthy point-of-care diagnostics for the developing world, a couple of Cornell researchers are mashing up their individual inventions to create a handheld pathogen detector that can quickly diagnose pathogens ranging from chlamydia and tuberculosis to HIV.

The portable device is a blend of a synthetic DNA tagging technology developed by Cornell biological and environmental engineering prof Dan Luo and a CMOS chip developed by Edwin Kan, an electrical and computer engineering professor. Luo’s technology does the actual detecting, while Kan’s chip is able to identify and respond to the amplified signals generated by the sensor. The result: a handheld disease targeting machine that can diagnose pathogens in half an hour rather than days.

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