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MARCH 16, 2016 by MAE CHAN
Japan Develops 9 Dollar Sensor That Can Detect Viruses In Minutes Making Prevention of Symptoms Possible


Japanese electronics giant Toshiba in collaboration with Osaka University has developed a sensor that detects infectious viruses in minutes compared to existing technologies that take eight hours.

Faster diagnosis will help not only in preventing the development of severe symptoms but will also reduce the possibility of contagion.

"Think about how many methods of treatment exist today, both holistic and conventional, which can prevent the spread of viruses. This technology will allow the average person to begin prevention protocols almost immediately once they are aware of the viral infection," said Dr. Thomas Chastanga commenting on the media release.

The new sensor recognises virus forms in a few minutes as opposed to existing methods that use gene amplification, which requires around eight hours.

The university and Toshiba, which is currently negotiating the sale of its medical equipment branch Toshiba Medical Systems, plan to launch a diagnostic device based on this new technology in less than three years by 2020.

Toshiba has announced it will manufacture the chip that forms the core of the device.

Toshiba and the Osaka University are working towards commercialising the system by 2017, which would be in the form of a kit priced at $9, said Nikkei.

Other Japanese companies are also working towards developing efficient diagnostic technology, including Konica Minolta, that together with Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, have come up with a system to detect the influenza virus (commonly known as flu), altering the technology used for quick pregnancy tests.

The system, which uses a high performance chip with fluorescent pigment can also be used to detect mosquito-borne diseases.

"The potential here for worldwide use is diverse and endless as this type of technology can be applied in any country around the world," concluded Dr. Chastanga.

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