A fidget spinner for the point-of care diagnosis of urinary tract infection
Simple, inexpensive, hand-powered, portable device efficiently enriched and detect the pathogen from human urine
Design and function of the Dx-Fidget Spinner
Point of care diagnostic tools are essential for accurate and rapid diagnostic tests at the time and place of patient care are needed both for the developed and developing world, the lack of infrastructure such as stable electricity and trained staffs add additional challenges to design affordable, user-friendly, robust, and equipment-free devices that can be used in poor-resource settings. Inspired by the fidget spinner, Professor Yoon-Kyoung Cho and her research team developed a diagnostic fidget spinner (Dx-FS) that allows filtration of 1-mL of undiluted urine samples in 5 minutes with just two spins by hand and enrich the pathogens 100-fold helps in naked eye detection.
The current diagnosis of UTIs in rural areas takes about a week, which includes healthcare visits, empirical antibiotic prescription, urine shipment to the laboratory, and urinalysis and culturing at the laboratory. While accurate and rapid diagnostic tests at the time and place of patient care are needed both for the developed and developing world, the lack of infrastructure such as stable electricity and trained staffs add additional challenges to design affordable, user-friendly, robust, and equipment-free devices that can be used in poor-resource settings. With all doubts this method is breakthrough process out of the lab to check if the device works in real world. Urine samples from 39 UTI suspects and confirmed that symptom-based diagnosis combined with a Dx-FS can identify patients who need antimicrobials within 50 minutes, thereby reducing antimicrobial misuse.
Prof. Cho’s research team for a fidget spinner inspired microfluidic chip as a point-of-care to diagnose infectious diseases.
Professor Cho explained, “Though the centrifugal force serves as an ‘engine’ of the device, the force is felt more strongly in the outer path as it acts outwardly away from the center of rotation. The imbalanced impact of the centrifugal force keeps some of the sample left in the membrane. We utilized hydrodynamic forces that acts vertically to the centrifugal force by filling the filter membrane with liquid before the spinning process. This minimized the pressure drop and brought the uniform pressure balance throughout the entire area of the membrane. This allowed for maximized bacterial cell enrichment efficiency while minimizing the force needed for the filtration. Therefore, one or two spins were enough to filter 1 mL of sample despite a large variation in the spin speed among different operators with different hand power.”
The study has been supported through the Korean Health Technology R&D Project of the Ministry of Health & Welfare and the IBS Center for Soft and Living Matter. This work is detailed in a paper published in the Nature Biomedical Engineering, and highlighted on the front cover: Issac Michael et al., A fidget spinner for the point-of care diagnosis of urinary tract infection, Nature Biomedical Engineering, DOI: 10.1038s41551-020-0557-2.