A miniature clinical laboratory that fits into a suitcase may prove to be a boon for millions of Indians who lack access to diagnostic services.
Amit Bhatnagar, an IIT alumnus who quit a plum job at Hollywood’s famed Universal Studios, has designed the low-cost biochemistry lab packed into a suitcase that can conduct tests and provide medical diagnosis. It could lead to early identification of many diseases in remote and rural areas.
“It is a complete, compact lab in a suitcase with power backup,” said Bhatnagar, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee.
“It can perform 23 vital blood tests for kidney, liver, heart, anaemia, diabetes and arthritis accurately, cost-effectively and timely.”
The portable lab was launched by Science and Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy here on Saturday.
The lab costs a maximum of Rs. 3.5 lakh, and includes a blood analyser, centrifuge, micro pipettes, incubator, laptop with patient data management software and consumables.
“The key advantage of the mobile lab is in its design, rugged analyser, portability and cost-effectiveness,” Bhatnagar said.
The portable lab is being used by the Border Roads Organisation at its dispensaries in remote areas of Kargil, Leh and Nagaland, and by the Central Reserve Police Force in the jungles of Chhattisgarh. The lab is also being utilised under various programmes of the National Rural Health Mission in Haryana and Kerala on a pilot basis.
“We did a trial for 800 to 900 people in our dispensaries in remote areas. It has a lot of potential for early detection of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cardiac problems and in emergencies,” said Brigadier SB Mahajan, deputy director general, Border Roads Organisation.
The efficacy of this mobile laboratory could not be independently verified.