Saurabh Mehta, associate professor at Cornell University in the U.S., along with his team, has developed a low-cost blood test that can detect iron and vitamin A deficiency in just 15 minutes. The small, portable diagnostic system contains a blood sample test strip, like those used to test diabetes.
The strip measures concentrations of retinol binding protein (important for eyesight), C-reactive protein (an infection indicator) and the protein ferritin (to find anaemia).
Since most developing countries do not have access to the needed, sophisticated tools to enable early diagnosis, the researchers feel that this test has the potential to solve that.
Vitamin A and iron deficiency affect more than one-third of the world's population. Problems resulting from these deficiencies, such as blindness, anaemia and death, particularly among children and women, are a major public health challenge.