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Take Two Chips and Call Me in the Morning Tech and Medicine

Boot Camp feature for Friday, April 4, 2008

Take two chips and call me in the morning. Technology and medicine. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Identifying different strains of flu, including the deadly avian variety, is a process that can take days in a laboratory. That's why a breakthrough announced by STMicroelectronics and a partner in Singapore has gotten quite a bit of attention of late. They have announced a chip they call VeruFlu. STMicro business development manager Stefano LoPriore…

"The chip is accompanied by its own instrumentation, which we have also developed. It's portable instrumentation, it weighs a few pounds. And the characteristics of this chip are that it can be used not just in big centralized biological laboratories. But it can be brought at the point of need, in the field, whether it be the site of alleged H5&1 infection or a hospital or the airport, for example, where you could test suspected patients of H5&1."

And the lab on a chip also provides results more quickly…

"Right now, in case you have a suspected infection, you would have to wait a few days before the results came back from a centralized laboratory, including the time you need to send the samples to the laboratory and wait for the results. Right now, the same test can be performed in about two hours at the point where the infection takes place."

STMicro says it will also be cheaper. The hope is to have the chip laboratories on the market and deployed later this year and they may be of use in detecting other illnesses as well. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.