The “InstantCount” project develops printed microfluidic cell counting chambers for point-of-care blood tests, with the goal to provide diagnostics to resource-poor settings with no access to lab testing.
The concept of the test is based on the release of cell staining reagents from hydrogels to realize on-chip sample preparation. Based on this principle, we have demonstrated a simple and affordable CD4 count, a test that is used for HIV staging, and are currently developing printing techniques to fabricate these tests in an affordable and reproducible way. At the same time, new assays, such as a malaria test and a differential white blood cell count based on the same principle are developed and new materials for the release of reagents on microfluidic chips are tested.
Schematic representation of a microfluidic “InstantCount” chamber and the principle of its operation.