Researchers in Mexico are developing a device capable of detecting biomarkers that can indicate a high risk of type 2 diabetes in saliva.
The device, developed by the Tec de Monterrey, Mexico, in collaboration with the University of Housto, is adaptable to a mobile phone and removes the need for needles. The device will be capable of providing results in seconds.
Essentially, the device detects the presence of a certain compound in saliva. When someone has type 2 diabetes, this compound is visible in saliva. At first, the researchers planned to use phone cameras to detect the compound, but instead opted for an enzymatic reaction that makes the compound fluorescent.
“We wanted a device which could identify a biomarker in a sample of saliva, and it had to emit a fluorescent light so a cell phone camera could record it,” said Dr. Marco Antonio Rite Palomares, director of the Biotechnology Centre of the Tec de Monterrey FEMSA.
“While the idea is to make the patient’s life easier, we also want to bring healthcare to the low-income population, helping to make an early detection before it can lead to more problems and take action to prevent high costs for the population and the government.”
Because of its low cost, the device could be used to diagnose a large number of type 2 diabetes cases in lower income populations.

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