Diagnostic services are essential to guiding treatment of many health conditions. In the developing world, diagnostic services are limited to well-equipped central laboratories in urban areas and the capability to conduct medical diagnostics rapidly drops in the remote regions. A large population that lives in remote areas, therefore, does not have access to state-of-the-art medical diagnostic facilities. Central diagnostic laboratories in the developing world are well equipped to conduct high throughput and high-quality diagnostic testing. However, their potential is often underutilised, in large part because of the absence of efficient cold chains for sample transportation, resulting in poor specimen quality. Technologies for extended sample stabilisation during transportation in the absence of cold chains will lead to better utilisation and integration of the central laboratories into diagnostic workflows in the developing world.
In a new publication in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Lab on a Chip journal, researchers led by BhushanToley, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, describe a specimen transportation technology called SPECTRA-Tube (Specimen Transportation Tube) that enables dry stabilisation of large volumes (>1 mL) of liquid specimens for transportation to central laboratories.
Current liquid dry stabilisation technologies have been restricted by the volume of the sample that can be dried (typically < 250 µL). SPECTRA-tube presents a significant improvement over the state of the art in this aspect. The team demonstratethe application of SPECTRA-tube in dry stabilisation of sputum, and show that dried sputum can be recovered from SPECTRA-tube and can be used for molecular as well as culture-based diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Dsouza A, Jangam S, Soni S, Agarwal P, Naik V, Manjula J, Nair CB, Toley BJ. A large-volume sputum dry storage and transportation device for molecular and culture-based diagnosis of tuberculosis.Lab on a Chip.2022 Apr 7.