In a 9/28/17 press release, Tasso, Inc., developer of a new blood sample collection method, Ceres Nanosciences, a nanotechnology company, George Mason University, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases announced the start of an $11.7 million program, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, to develop a method for untrained users to collect large-volume capillary blood samples in remote environments to permit surveillance of infectious disease outbreaks. Ceres, “Tasso, Ceres Nanosciences, George Mason University, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases receive $4.25M to develop a universal surveillance platform for infectious disease outbreaks,” available at http://www.ceresnano.com/press?utm_campaign=b9dd23efbd-MR&utm_medium=email&utm_source=STAT%2BNewsletters&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-b9dd23efbd-149636301. The theory is that the nanoparticles will bind pathogens, making them easier to identify.
This approach, designed for use in remote areas, perhaps in hazardous conditions, might also hold potential for benefit closer to home. Distance care physicians can take histories via telemedicine just as detailed as they can in person. With the aid of the right technologies, they can also perform extensive, though generally not complete, physical examinations. What they often cannot do at present is obtain samples of urine, and more especially blood, in aid of diagnosis.
Many clinical problems can be diagnosed and treated without reliance on lab tests. Infectious disease, however, is a good example of a set of maladies that may often be harder to diagnose adequately with telemedicine than in person, precisely because laboratory testing is difficult to do in distance care. Developments such as those described in the press release may eventually overcome this obstacle, permitting more accurate, rapid diagnosis, leading to better-informed treatment decisions and better health outcomes.