The clinical tools generally used to measure the blood viscosity require blood samples of up to 4 milliliters of blood to be taken from the patient. A newborn baby has only about 300 milliliters in his entire body, so these very extractions, often performed in order to detect diseases such as polycythemia, may put their health at risk.
However, a device developed by the young physicist Nadim Morhell, licensed by the Balseiro Institute (Argentina), requires just a drop of blood to deliver accurate results in a few minutes. “Our sensor is framed within the capillary microviscometer and is based on a chip whose purpose is to make the blood flow through micro channels, detecting differences in pressure” Morhell explains. Since under equal conditions the more viscose the fluids the slower it flows, measurements of the change in blood pressure, the speed and size of the channels all hold a direct relationship with blood viscosity .
Morhell´s tool, for which the patent has already been requested, consists of a disposable chip upon which the drop of blood is placed, and an electronic sensor to measure the chip. Morhell´s team is currently developing a micro-manufacturing platform for the chips that would allow them to produce and to commercialize this real time diagnostic tool, and more in the future.
In terms of enterprise, Morhell plans to create acompany, affiliated with the university and government agencies that have supported its development, to share his micro-technology within the industry. Meanwhile, his team continues to work on new prototypes, incorporating improvements to the current viscometer, amongst other designs with different applications, all of which aim to 'integrate micro-technology within portable and interactive sensors'.