Finally, a team of scientists have developed a rapid microfluidic test that can detect Lyme disease in just 15 minutes.
Caused by the bacterial species Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted by the bite of infected Ixodes ticks, the disease can cause serious neurologic, cardiac, and/or rheumatologic complications if left untreated.
Current testing for Lyme disease, called the standard 2-tiered approach (STT) involves running two complex assays (ELISA and western blot) to detect antibodies against the bacterium, and requires experienced personnel in a lab, as well as a few hours to carry out and interpret.
Now, a research team led by Sam Sia, professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a rapid microfluidic test that can detect Lyme disease with similar performance as the STT in a much shorter time.
"Our findings are the first to demonstrate that Lyme disease diagnosis can be carried out in a microfluidic format that can provide rapid quantitative results," says Sia. "This means that our test could easily be used directly in a doctor's office, obviating having to send the samples out to a laboratory."