What was the impact?
Based on the seminal research undertaken at Queen’s University Belfast, a blood analyser was developed that has been the market leader in point-of-care analysers ever since. Researchers at global healthcare company Roche read about de Silva’s research and quickly recognised its commercial potential; the result was a collaboration with Optimedical Inc to develop the sensor.
After testing in collaboration with AVL Bioscience Corporation, Roswell GA, the OPTI blood analyser was created with a disposable, single-use cassette to carry out the measurement. Diagnostic cassettes worth over $50 million were sold from 2008–2013.
The device can be used in a range of settings including GP surgeries, hospital critical care units, ambulances and veterinary practises. Blood test results can be available in less than 30 seconds, enabling rapid medical responses such as administering a particular blood type with the correct salt levels.
As well as being rapid, the device is also easy to use. In Japan, doctors can provide patients with test results immediately in their surgeries, and paramedics in Sri Lanka and Libya were able to use the device in conflict situations. Furthermore, the technology has been adapted for veterinary surgeries.