Came across this excellent review on Microfluidic Paper Based Analytical Devices (mPADs) that aim to provide ASSURED diagnostic devices to developing countries. ASSURED stand for Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid and robust, Equipment free and Deliverable to end-users. I am all for creating cheap diagnostic devices and really liked when I saw that “– a simple μPAD typically can be fabricated for <$0.01 (for the cost of the paper and patterning)”. A quick search on the web and I found FDA approved lateral flow immunoassay kits that can test anywhere from one to ten analyte in a single sample available for few dollars. Most of these tests are qualitative but will pass the ASSURED test.
I may be missing something but I am still not clear how PADs will be dramatically different from lateral flow immunoassays in terms of performance and cost-if you have the answer I want to know! I am however looking forward to first commercial kit sooner rather than later.