A simple smart-phone DNA test to detect chlamydia was created by the researchers
Chlamydia is one the most common sexually transmitted disease, caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease, having serious health implications that sometimes can be irreversible, like infertility. It can also lead to chronic pelvic pain and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Doctors recommend annual screening for the infection, especially for people with multiple sexual partners, due to the fact that sometimes it can be asymptomatic.
PhD Jeff Tza-Huei Wang from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and research colleagues say the mobiLab test is a simpler and easier diagnostic method that could reduce the prevalence of the disease. It is cheaper and more rapid that the NAAT test that is commonly used for chlamydia detection.
The study and test’s high accuracy were presented at the 2015 American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Atlanta, GA. MobiLab works by analyses genital swab samples, detecting the DNA of chlamydia bacteria. The data can be afterwards downloaded and assessed using an app on the smart-phone. The new technique costs $2 per test, much cheaper than the NAAT test.
“We now have these pretty accurate, sensitive, and specific molecular assays to detect very few numbers of organisms in biological samples. But a lot of these technologies are confined to being used in centralized lab settings. If we’re able to bring molecular diagnostic technology closer to the clinic and deliver accurate results to clinicians sooner, then we’ll be able to improve our standard of care for patients with chlamydia while also saving costs”, co-author Dong Jin Shin from Johns Hopkins University declared.
The researchers hope the new diagnostic method will be widely used by health care facilities for test screening the population, as the disease’s incidence is very high.