Thursday, 14 August 2014

Disposable Platform Provides Visual And Color-Based Point-Of-Care Anemia Self-Testing By Erika A. Tyburski, Scott E. Gillespie, Rayford H. Bulloch, Jeanne Boudreaux , Craig R. Forest , Manila Gaddh , Karthik Thota , William A. Stoy , Robert G. Mannino , Alexander J. Weiss, Anyela Cardenas, Wilena Session, Traci Leong , L. Andrew Lyon , Wilbur A. Lam , Hanna J. Khoury , Siobhan O’Connor, Alexa F. Siu, Silvia T. Bunting

Anemia, defined by low hemoglobin (Hgb) concentrations in the blood, affects one-third of the world’s population, approximately 2 billion people, and is especially prevalent in young children, women of childbearing age, and the elderly (1). Symptoms of anemia range from weakness, fatigue, and dizziness in milder cases to life-threatening cardiovascular collapse in more severe cases, and chronic anemia leads to permanent neurocognitive deficits in children (2, 3). The most common causes of anemia are nutritional deficiencies (e.g., iron deficiency), primary hematologic diseases (e.g., sickle cell disease, thalassemia, myelodysplastic syndromes), drugs (e.g., cancer chemotherapy), and other chronic conditions that indirectly cause anemia (e.g., chronic kidney disease, inflammatory/autoimmune disorders, HIV) (47). Even in developed nations, anemia remains a major public health issue, as an estimated 85 million people are at high risk for anemia and 5 million people are afflicted by anemia, respectively, in the US alone (811).

Currently, the gold standard for anemia diagnosis is a complete blood count (CBC) using a hematology analyzer, which measures the Hgb levels of a venous blood sample. As CBCs require a venous blood draw from a trained phlebotomist and hematology analyzers require a skilled technician and electrical power to operate, these devices are currently housed in hospitals, clinics, and commercial laboratories, necessitating patients to travel outside of their home to be tested for anemia. With anemia’s widespread prevalence, an inexpensive, disposable, stand-alone point-of-care (POC) anemia diagnostic that is simple enough for untrained people to use as a self-test will enable (a) patients with chronic anemia to self-monitor their disease, improve their quality of life, and potentially improve clinical outcomes and (b) the general public to self-screen for anemia in a cost-effective manner. While several POC anemia diagnostics are currently available, all are currently designed for use by healthcare professionals and none are designed for home use as a self-test (1216).

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