A Low-Cost Inkjet-Printed Glucose Test Strip System for Resource-Poor Settings

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Abstract

Background:

The prevalence of diabetes is increasing in low-resource settings; however, accessing glucose monitoring is extremely difficult and expensive in these regions. Work is being done to address the multitude of issues surrounding diabetes care in low-resource settings, but an affordable glucose monitoring solution has yet to be presented. An inkjet-printed test strip solution is being proposed as a solution to this problem.

Methods:

The use of a standard inkjet printer is being proposed as a manufacturing method for low-cost glucose monitoring test strips. The printer cartridges are filled with enzyme and dye solutions that are printed onto filter paper. The result is a colorimetric strip that turns a blue/green color in the presence of blood glucose.

Results:

Using a light-based spectroscopic reading, the strips show a linear color change with an R2 = .99 using glucose standards and an R2 = .93 with bovine blood. Initial testing with bovine blood indicates that the strip accuracy is comparable to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 15197 for glucose testing in the 0-350 mg/dL range. However, further testing with human blood will be required to confirm this. A visible color gradient was observed with both the glucose standard and bovine blood experiment, which could be used as a visual indicator in cases where an electronic glucose meter was unavailable.

Conclusions:

These results indicate that an inkjet-printed filter paper test strip is a feasible method for monitoring blood glucose levels. The use of inkjet printers would allow for local manufacturing to increase supply in remote regions. This system has the potential to address the dire need for glucose monitoring in low-resource settings.

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