Singapore Plans SARS-Detecting Microchip

Monday, October 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SINGAPORE (AP) _ Singapore scientists claim that by as early as January they will have developed an electronic chip that can diagnose SARS, flu and other respiratory diseases, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The chip will make its diagnosis by analyzing nasal fluids that are dropped into it, said Ren Ee Chee, deputy director of the Genome Institute of Singapore, the Straits Times reported.

Currently there is no single test that can determine what respiratory illness a patient is suffering, Ren told the newspaper.

``Patients who have flu, dengue fever or SARS all exhibit similar symptoms in the early stages of infection,'' Ren was quoted as saying.

``The chip will be able to test for this at once, identify if it's one or the other and doctors will have a clear picture from the start,'' he said.

The institute is developing the chip in conjunction with a U.S. medical device manufacturer, Ren was reported as saying, but he declined to identify the company.

SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, sickened 239 people in Singapore, of whom 33 died. Globally, the disease killed over 900 and infected more than 8,400.