Date
23 January 2017
Dr. Yan Feng displays a device to test the level of glucose in a patient's saliva. Photo: PolyU
Dr. Yan Feng displays a device to test the level of glucose in a patient's saliva. Photo: PolyU

PolyU researchers develop painless test for blood glucose

There’s good news for the more than 700,000 people in Hong Kong who suffer from diabetes.

Instead of having to pierce a patient’s finger for a blood test, researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University have developed a painless way for those with diabetes to test their body glucose level — using their saliva.

Diabetes patients have to monitor their blood glucose regularly and frequently, but the traditional method for taking a blood sample is painful.

Dr. Yan Feng, associate professor in PolyU’s department of applied physics, is one of the researchers behind the new technology, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

He started studying the feasibility of saliva tests five years ago.

Glucose in blood is 1,000 times more concentrated than in saliva.

The challenge for the researchers was to find a substance sensitive enough to detect the glucose level in saliva.

The biosensor developed by PolyU researchers has a glucose oxidase enzyme layer, which is sensitive to glucose alone and nothing else.

The sensor uses the amount of electrical current flowing through an electrode to gauge the level of glucose in the saliva.

Mass production could help lower the cost of each test chip to around HK$3-HK$5, similar to the cost of blood glucose testers available in the market at present.

The research findings were published in the academic journal Advanced Materials.

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BT/DY/FL

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