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FeverPhone could help you diagnose diseases

FeverPhone (Alex Resila)

Many of us are used to going to the doctor's office to be diagnosed with a disease, but researchers at Cornell University are working to change that. They just received a three million dollar federal grant to develop what's being called, FeverPhone which could help save lives. It's being worked on to diagnose six of the most common diseases that present with a fever, from typhoid to malaria.

Medical technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Soon, doctors will be able to use FeverPhone to determine which type of disease someone might have in just 15 minutes. In the US, it can take as long as one day to diagnose someone.

Dr. Saurabh Mehta is one of the lead researchers of FeverPhone. It's just a model right now, but he hopes to have it working and in the hands of doctors or even the public in the next four years. "Often times people get the wrong treatment or antibiotics when there's no need for those. We hope to change that scenario," says Mehta.

He's showing us how it works on similar technology that checks vitamin levels. You prick your finger and slide a drop of blood into the device. It connects to an app that helps give you a positive or negative result minutes later.

"We hope that we can save a substantial amount of (lives)."

Researchers from Cornell will be going to Ecuador over the next four years to work on developing this technology. FeverPhone will be most useful to help diagnose these diseases in developing countries, where healthcare is less accessible.

Two of FeverPhone's biggest benefits to the medical community are its portability and relatively low cost to make. Also, many hospitals in developing countries can't differentiate between these diseases at all.

"If I'm in Ecuador and I go in with a fever, most people will assume that I have dengue. If I'm in Africa most places there will think it's malaria."

Mehta says his work started years before Zika spiked, but if approved for further research FeverPhone could diagnose it as well.

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