Tmek was designed to have a diagnostic test for malaria to answer the need of a rapid and effective screening of the population where the socio-economic conditions make the currently available solutions on the market inappropriate or ineffective.
Tmek is a compact system, based on “lab-on-chip” approach, consisting of a low-cost “disposable” microchip connected to an electronic reading module. It is based on the magnetic properties of infected red blood cells (RBCs) and emozoin crystals (HC) produced by plasmodium (a malaria pathogen). A drop of blood is collected on a slide then placed in contact with the silicon chip where the infected RBCs and HCs are attracted to magnetic concentrators, while healthy RBCs are sediment. The detection takes place by measuring the variation in electrical impedance at each concentrator.
The Gold Standard for these analyses takes long time and is done manually under a microscope by an experienced operator that is not always available in African dispensaries. Tmek provides pan-plasmodic test with the sensitivity level comparable with the Gold Standard in the absence of false positives and identifies all types of malaria parasites. It does not specialized personnel and could perform with a speed of execution <5 min (RDT 25 min, Gold Standard and PCR 40 min) and costs <10 €, (as comparable to Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RTD)).
The industrial applications of the invention are related to the production of “disposable” chips for the single diagnostic test and the reader (electronic device) of the result of the test itself.
Referent: Politecnico di Milano