In the lab, we have been working on optimizing our device to ensure accuracy and cost-efficiency. Specifically, we have been experimenting with sensitivity and specificity of antibody pairs. These procedures will allow for the detection of both normal and sickle cell hemoglobin, and grant potential for the diagnosis of sickle cell anemia and the identification of sickle cell trait carriers. With the sponsorship of Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc., lab work is being conducted to establish a user-friendly casing mechanism. Because the current design avoids the need for a dilution step, this casing is being designed for an all-in-one device, incorporating the test strip, running buffer, and possible on-chip red blood cell lysis mechanism. Finally, in order to ensure that this device is optimal for use in LMICs, the team will use connections with World Hope International in Sierra Leone to receive feedback from medical professionals on the usability of the device, and learn about implementation challenges. By considering these context-specific parameters in the lateral flow design, and incorporating local knowledge to ensure a usable device, this sickle cell diagnostic tool has the potential to make screening in Sierra Leone and other LMICs feasible. A cheap and effective diagnostic device of this kind, that allows for early interventions, could therefore significantly improve the quality of life for a large population.
Explore this page to stay up-to-date on our recent experiments!