Sepsis (where your immune system starts a chain of inflammation reactions) is potentially deadly, especially if septic shock leads your organs to fail, but diagnosing that in a timely fashion is still difficult or requires an unwieldy device.
Thankfully, MIT researchers might have a way to identify sepsis before it’s too late. They’ve designed a small microfluidic sensor that could detect sepsis in roughly 25 minutes or enough time for doctors to start treatment. The device is not only compact but should be inexpensive compared to existing portable systems. And crucially, you don’t need to provide a huge sample. A single finger prick of blood is usually enough versus the milliliter current systems need.
This technology isn’t ready for the hospital just yet, but if and when this becomes a finished product, doctors might catch sepsis early enough to save lives, even in health care facilities where existing systems wouldn’t be practical.