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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Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

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