March 16, 2009 | UW Bioengineering
Chemical and Engineering News contacted Prof. Paul Yager recently to get his take on making diagnostic tests available in developing countries where where lab facilities are limited. While some researchers are exploring an instrument-free approach, Yager does not expect all assays for use in developing countries to be insturment free.
"You want the assays to work where they're needed," Yager says. "You minimize the power requirements, you minimize the weight, you minimize the complexity, you minimize the cost. But if it needs an instrument, it needs an instrument."
Yager argued that an instrrument is almost always necessary for quantitative measurements. "The human eye is okay at comparative things--for example, looking at color changes to determine PH and things like that from a strip. That's pretty much the limit of what the human eye can do, and not everything can be converted into that format.
"I'm a firm believer in the use of instrumentation, just the simplest and most easily available insturmentation possible," Yager said.