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Elizabeth Holmes

Point-of-care devices, enabling up to 70 medical tests from a single drop of blood

Elizabeth Holmes

Point-of-care devices, enabling up to 70 medical tests from a single drop of blood
Patients can be tested earlier and with more frequency, especially in countries where the cost, skills and conditions for conventional blood tests are prohibitive

Chemical engineer, developed a technique for easy, low-cost blood testing

Only a single drop of blood is required to perform up to 70 medical tests, and results are available immediately, thanks to the work of Elizabeth Holmes. The simplicity of this method enables patients to be tested earlier and with more frequency, especially in countries where the cost, skills and conditions for conventional blood tests are prohibitive. The testing device developed by Holmes and her team works by tapping the subject’s finger for a single drop of blood, making it a much simpler and cheaper way to screen blood, compared to traditional methods. Two methods are used to gain results from such a small sample: dilution, which enables a more complex analysis based on the concentration of substances; and detection, which gleans insights from photon activity. The American researcher started her work while studying chemical engineering at Stanford, and is now listed as co-inventor on over 270 patent applications. Holmes went on to found Theranos, which is now one of the top three commercial laboratory firms in the US.

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