I have my annual physical next week and as always it involves collecting vials of my blood for numerous tests – cholesterol, iron levels, calcium, blood sugar….you name it. What always gets me is the amount of blood taken. I’m a regular blood donor and sometimes I swear that I give more blood during my annual physical than I do when I go to a donor clinic. Of course that’s not true. It just seems that way because of all the many vials that get collected.
That’s why I couldn’t help notice a new device that looks like it can revolutionize this kind of testing. It is called the V-Chip. It’s about the size of a business card (7.6 x 5 centimeters or 3 x 2 inches) and requires only a drop of fluid to do 50 different tests at once. V-Chip stands for volumetric bar-chart chip. It consists of two very thin pieces of glass with a series of wells sandwiched in between. The wells contain hydrogen peroxide, 50 different antibodies to specific proteins, DNA or RNA fragments, lipids and enzyme catalase, and a dye. When a single drop of blood is added and the operator slides one glass plate over the other a visual bar chart appears (see image below) which can then be read with the results from each of the columns recorded.
The V-Chip is the creation of scientists at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, Texas. Each chip costs about $10 US. It is fast giving you immediate results. That means a doctor can use a V-Chip right in the office and in the event of an infection or other medical issue begin treatment immediately. View the video describing the V-Chip and comparing it to conventional testing.
Now if I can only get my doctor to get one of these before I go in for my physical.