Smartphone, M.D.: A new app developed by UCSB researchers enables a smartphone to ID bacteria in just one hour
In a potential game changer for the health care industry, a new cell phone app and lab kit now allow a smartphone to identify bacteria from patients anywhere in the world. With the new app, doctors will be able to diagnose diseases and prescribe the appropriate antibiotic within a one-hour office visit, meaning faster recovery — and lower treatment costs — for patients. Developed by a research team led by MCDB professor Michael Mahan, the study “Smartphone-based pathogen diagnosis in urinary sepsis patients” was published in the journal EbioMedicine. The detection system succeeded in achieving rapid diagnosis of urinary tract infections — among the most common type of infection globally. The app uses a smartphone’s camera to measure a chemical reaction and determines a diagnosis in about an hour — and the simple, low-cost test can be performed in the world’s most remote locations.