Diagnosis is the first and most important part of treating diseases. It not only helps us understand what’s happening to the body, but also decide on what’s the best course of action needed.
However, disease diagnosis isn’t often as easy as one can imagine, as most viruses are too small for traditional testing to detect until actual physical symptoms show up.
This is why researchers from various organizations over the world have been trying to create new methods of virus detection, that can find them before any actual damage happens.
One of these organizations is IBM, and their solution for this problem is using specially crafted silicon chips to separate the virus from saliva or urine samples.
What’s unique about their approach is that by combining their silicon technology with Deterministic Lateral Displacement (DLD) Separation Technology, they can create cheap and accurate tools for diagnosis.
For those who don’t know about it, DLD is a micro-fluidic process that separates particles based on size, by passing them through a field of tiny posts.
This method uses the laminar flow of fluid to deflect the larger particles from the small ones, which keep moving in the direction of the fluid.
This way, once the sample reaches downstream, all the particles have already been separated and can then be analyzed separately. All this happens on a nanoscale, so you can’t even see it happening with the naked eye.
Some might argue that this is an already existing technology, and IBM is not doing anything special. But what makes silicon based diagnostic special is the fact that it is both cheap and accurate, a combination which up until now has been quite hard to accomplish.
Going forward, this research will focus on expanding this technology to include various diseases into the fold, so that we would get a more comprehensive and cheaper diagnostic tool than ever before.