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Home Diagnostic Test

Imagine if you could diagnose Zika by simply placing a special piece of paper on your tongue for a couple of seconds.

Photo of Silvana Zaldivar
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How might we make self diagnosis approachable and available to the general public?

In developing countries there are many communities which are isolated from health clinics. In some cases making a trip to the doctor’s office requires a significant amount of time and money. Therefore, if we could distribute home diagnostic tests, we could empower people to stay informed on their health status and encourage those who are Zika positive to make a trip to the nearest clinic. This would help clinics better manage their resources and efforts and it would inform those who are Zika positive on the risks of Zika transmission.

It’s important that these home diagnostic tests do not produce any hazardous waste since many of the users won’t be able to properly dispose them. So what if we took inspiration from ph papers and heat reactive materials to develop test methods that are user friendly and safe for the community and environment.

For example, imagine if you could know if you are infected with Zika by simply placing a piece of paper on your tongue for a couple of minutes. Or if you could place a special “band aid” on your arm that changes color to signify whether you are Zika positive or negative. You would then throw away your test paper and in a couple of weeks it would compost itself.

The overall idea is not to substitute official healthcare examinations, but to inform people on their condition to be able to act upon it.

(See PDF attached)

*Conceptual idea - science/biology research + innovation would be necessary

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Lou-Ann C

Great idea Silvana! Can we detect the Zika virus through saliva? 

Photo of Silvana Zaldivar

Hi Lou-Ann, that's a great question, I'm not sure if we can detect Zika and other viruses through saliva, but it would be great to have some biologists/chemists challenge the technology and it's possibilities.

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