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Taiwan develops rapid test for liver function that only requires a drop of blood

Source: Taiwan News by Huang Tzu-ti

A Taiwanese team has invented a device that only requires a drop of blood to produce a quantitative analysis of an individual’s liver function.

The galactose single-point test is a traditional method developed by Taiwan’s researchers and recommended by U.S. health authorities to gauge liver function quantitatively. However, the test is time-consuming and can only be conducted in labs, making it less accessible to the public.

Scientists from Taiwan have created a pocket-sized rapid testing device, which uses a biosensor for electrochemical detection. The innovation allows for a facilitated, cost-effective galactose single-point test, said Hu Yoa-pu (胡幼圃), an emeritus professor at the National Defense Medical Center and a fellow at the U.S. National Academy of Inventors.

Galactose is metabolized in the liver and the capacity to eliminate galactose can determine the state of the organ. One can consume or be injected with galactose and wait for an hour before a drop of blood is taken, and the blood sample is then used on the novel device, with results delivered in 75 seconds, Hu told CNA.

It has an accuracy rate of 90%, according to Hu. The study was published in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry in May.

The test kit was registered as medical equipment in Taiwan and patented in Taiwan, the U.S., and China. After it goes into commercial production the screening can be administered at home, is conducive to timely diagnosis of potential liver illnesses, and can serve as a tool for monitoring the liver status of patients.

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