Developed by Dr Suman Kapur, professor of biological sciences at BITS-Pilani, the new cellphone-sized blood sugar machine uses a capillary (narrow pipe) worth Rs 2 through which the blood is transmitted to the reading device. It will require 1,000 times less blood than a standard glucometer.
The device will undergo final evaluation by July 15 and is expected to be ready for mass production by December.
Now, India is home to over 61 million diabetics — an increase from 50.8 million last year. By 2030, India’s diabetes burden is expected to cross the 100 million mark. The country is also the largest contributor to regional mortality with 983,000 deaths attributable to the disease last year.
Dr. Suman Kapur said, Our device is as handy as a glucometer but with a different Chemistry. The major aim was to make a pocket sized, affordable glucose monitoring device. Diabetics are required to test their blood often, each time costing around Rs. 25. Our test will bring the cost down to Rs. 2. Also we will require just 1 or 2 picolitre of blood that means less than 1000 times blood comparing to standard glucometer.
Dr. Suman Kapur also explained the working of Machine. Once the finger pricked with a needle, red blood cells from the blood will be trapped and plasma will be allowed to pass, just like OSMOSIS, a process of chemistry. The machine will react at this moment and will give a color corresponding to glucose level.
He said the test has been successfully tried with human samples. "We are working on the reading device which will be the size of a cellphone. Instead of strips that glucometres use now, our machine will use a capillary (small hollow pie) which will cost Rs 2 every time a diabetic tests h/his blood," he added.
A health ministry official said, "The best way to detect abnormal BP and high blood sugar levels is to conduct mass screening. This will give us a clear picture of the prevalence of diabetes in the population. "Sources said when ICMR negotiated with companies for a million diabetes strips, and the lowest quote it received was Rs 13 per strip.” If this comes down to less than Rs 2, it will be a massive breakthrough," the official added.