A homemade test for men and women that reveals the presence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in ten minutes, via a urine sample, was designed by an engineer from Veracruz, Mexico. The technology collects epithelial cells from the urinary tract; and can detect presence of chlamydia, for example, one of the most common STDs in Mexico and the United States.
For the accomplishment, Ishtar Rizzo Varela was distinguished as one of the Innovators under 35 in Latin America 2018 by MIT Technology Review in Spanish.
LIZA, the name of the device, is similar to a home pregnancy test that is purchased at the pharmacy, measures 12 centimetres in length, 8 in height and 3 in width. In the upper part, there is a paper cone through which the urine is placed and a test strip allows knowing if there is an infection.
The test is not invasive or painful. “The intention is to create a device that can be bought at any pharmacy, such as a pregnancy test. This could lead to a diagnosis in a safe and private way,” explains Rizzo Varela.
Rizzo created a start-up for the production and marketing of LIZA, with his scientific team of iLab, a high-impact incubator based in in Xalapa, Veracruz.
“As a team we started with several projects but we focused on this in specific because we saw it as an emergency. Sexually transmitted diseases are something that nobody wants to talk about, but it involves and affects everyone.
“The use of personal devices such as LIZA could eliminate the barrier in the diagnosis of these diseases, since it is no longer necessary to go to a clinic to perform the chlamydia test; and in the future, probably other diseases of a similar nature, such as gonorrhea and syphilis“.
“Working with integrity, passion and discipline we can be the change we want to see in the world, as MIT Technology Review says,” concludes the young scientific entrepreneur.
Source: La Jornada