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Palm-sized compact device to detect bird flu

Scientists in Singapore have recently invented a palm-sized device that can be used to detect the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu in less than 30 minutes. The Nature Medicine journal has published about the ‘lab-on-a-chip’ invention by the scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nano-technology, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, and the Genome Institute of Singapore. The palm-sized device device, which is about the size of an apple, is as sensitive as and around 10 times faster than available tests and potentially up to 100 times cheaper. It will allow medical and humanitarian aid workers in the field to detect bird flu faster and so avert a potential epidemic, especially in Asia where scores have died from bird flu.

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