A Mobile-Based Method for Detecting Deadly Diseases

Acute undifferentiated febrile illnesses—such as dengue, malaria, chikungunya, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, and Chagas’ disease—are responsible for substantial global morbidity and mortality, along with imposing a considerable economic cost primarily in developing countries. The development of a real-time, rapid, and accurate mobile device-based method to identify pathogens with only a drop of blood would decrease reliance on current practices. The usual custom is to make diagnoses based on symptoms and allow health care providers to make informed treatment decisions. To address this need, David Erickson, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Saurabh Mehta, Nutritional Sciences, are developing and validating “FeverPhone,” technology for point-of-care differential diagnosis of the six common causes of acute febrile illness.

The “FeverPhone” system builds on the researchers’ extensive expertise in smartphone-based diagnostics, infectious disease, and global health. The project includes the development of a specialized assay cartridge, based on their previous work on color discrimination assays on mobile devices; associated iPad-based hardware for rapid interpretation of the cartridge results; and software for combining different molecular diagnosis with a confirming symptomatic interface. The final system will enable actionable diagnosis in15 minutes.

The researchers will perform a staged field validation study at Mehta’s existing infectious diseases monitoring site in Ecuador in collaboration with Washington B. Cárdenas (Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral) and Timothy Endy (SUNY Upstate Medical University).

At the end of the project, Erickson and Mehta plan to have the system fully validated and ready for approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration.  NIH Award Number: 1R01EB021331-01

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$2.3 Million spanning 4 years

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