ETH develops new device for taking blood samples

03 May 2024 09:34

Zurich CCGreater Zurich

Supporting partner

Zurich - A team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) has developed a safe and cost-effective device that even non-medical personnel can use to take reliable blood measurements. This can be used, for example, to diagnose malaria and takes its inspiration from leeches.

A new, simple device for taking blood samples developed by a team from ETH could help to take away people’s fear of syringes, needles and blood. Above all, however, it is easy to handle and can also be used by non-medical personnel. According to a report from ETH, although the device does not take as much blood as a conventional needle, it is able to collect more than a simple prick to the fingertip or earlobe. This ensures greater reliability of blood measurements.

The researchers based their development on leeches, which attach themselves to the skin, before penetrating it with their teeth and, by swallowing, create a negative pressure that they use to suck blood out of the wound. The new, cost-effective device is a type of suction cup that users affix to their upper arm or back. Inside there are a dozen microneedles that puncture the skin when pressed. When the user lets go, it creates a negative pressure that collects a blood sample.

For now, the device is made of silicone and the microneedles are made of steel, although the team is now in the process of developing an updated version made of fully degradable materials. Before the device can be used, for example, for blood tests in malaria regions, it must also be tested on humans after studies on pigs. To this end, the research group is still on the hunt for a financing partner, such as a non-profit foundation. Up to now, the team’s work has been supported by Fondation Botnar via the Basel Research Centre for Child Health. ce/mm

Supporting partner

Swiss Pavilion Digital

Previous newsletters