Microfluidic chips have been developed for carrying out cheaper, speedier medical tests by an MIT alumnus Dhananjaya Dendukuri. For the vast majority of Indians living in villages, high tech medical tests are out of their reach. But inexpensive, fast and accurate point-of-care diagnostics that doctors can use anywhere could soon be a reality, thanks to the work of Dhananjay Dendukuri, CEO and co-founder of Bangalore-based Achira Labs. Dendukuri, a Ph.D in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a novel platform that allows samples of blood, urea, saliva, or other body fluids to be loaded directly on to a plastic microfluidic chip and tested for the presence of multiple analytes in a few minutes. Its focus is on immunoassays.

This automated testing platform consists of a fluorescence-based, portable reader and reagent-loaded microfludic chips. The miniaturised assays allow for reduction in the volumes of expensive reagents used and hence their cost. The low development cost of the platform coupled with the sensitivity and reliability of expensive tests will enable a large number of people to have access to health-care tests in under-developed parts of India and other countries.. Such an expansion of the ‘reach’ of diagnostics could have enormous long-term health-care benefits in these underserved societies and markets, according to Suri Venkatachalam, founder and CEO, Connexios Life Sciences and cofounder and chairman, Achira Labs.

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