The Scope

Video: A new low-cost and time saving blood test

Scientists have brought blood testing down to 30 seconds using a strip of antibody-loaded paper.

Whether treating an accident victim or performing a planned surgery, one of the most basic things a doctor needs to know is his patient’s blood type. Knowing blood type information is essential because transfusion with the wrong type of blood can lead to an immunological response that can be fatal as the antigens and antibodies of the two different types of blood react.

There are more than 300 human blood types but most cause only minor reactions if mismatched. The two important blood types two differentiate are the ABO group and the Rhesus group that is marked either as positive or negative.

Conventional blood typing methods can take between 20 minutes and half an hour. This is why it is compulsory to have your blood type printed on your driver’s licence, so that paramedics and doctors do not waste time finding you blood type if you are in an accident and need blood. Blood samples are usually drawn from the patient and then a medical technician mixes the blood with a variety of serum samples of which the blood types are already known. The blood is then classified according to how it blood reacts with each kind of serum.

Scientists have now developed a new easy low-cost paper-based method of blood typing that takes just 30 seconds and can make all the difference in a medical emergency. They have coated anti-A antibodies to the left of a paper-based chip and anti-B antibodies to the right. A drop of blood is dropped at the centre of the chip. As the paper absorbs the blood and the blood moves through the membrane toward the ends of the chip, it touches the antibodies on either side. Depending on the type of blood, it will form clumps – to the left if it has antigen A, to the right if it has antigen B, on both sides if it has A and B antigens and no clumps if it is has no antigens or is “O” type. The paer is also coated with a due that turns brown when mixed with whole blood and teal when it counters only plasma left behind after blood cells clump in antigen-antibody reactions. This indicates that the corresponding marker – A on the left and B on the right – is present. If there is no marker, the blood will not clump and the dye will be brown.

Here is a video produced by Science on the innovation.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.