Blood Safety Microchip
Blood transfusions in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are critically important. The low standard of living and malnutrition in these countries leads to high frequency of anemia, particularly in children and women. According to World Health Organization (WHO) 30 to 40% of women in sub-Saharan Africa have anemia and about 25% of postpartum deaths in women are related to obstetrical hemorrhages. While blood transfusions are essential, blood safety remains a major problem in the developing world. One way to make an immediate impact in improving safety of blood transfusions is to develop assays for rapid and inexpensive screening of donated blood. Countries of sub-Saharan Africa have high prevalence of several bloodstream viral infections including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV). WHO reports that blood donation screening is currently limited to ~75% in the case of HIV, ~50% for HBV and ~19% for HCV. Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) and nucleic acid test (NAT) kits for detecting these infections have been developed and are in principle available in the developing world. However, these commercial tests remain relatively expensive and laborious; often require expensive equipment and refrigeration of reagents. We will develop a “BLOOD SAFETY MICROCHIP” – a miniature device for rapid, point of care testing for blood-borne infections. This will be a self-contained device “blood in / data out” that will not require extensive handling, user training or refrigeration. A single chip will provide information about multiple markers including: CD4 T-cell counts, HIV-1, HBV and HCV.