The End of the Needle? Leech-Inspired Device Promises Painless Blood Draws

By: | May 5th, 2024

Revolutionizing Blood Sampling

Imagine undergoing a blood test without the prick of a needle. Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland have developed a novel device inspired by leeches that could revolutionize blood sampling.

Traditionally, blood draws involve needles, which can be uncomfortable, especially for children or those with needle phobia. This discomfort can make even routine blood tests a stressful ordeal. Additionally, used needles pose a risk to healthcare workers during disposal.

The Development Journey of a Painless Blood Sampling Device

Inspired by leech mechanics, the device employs microneedles and a suction cup to extract blood, revolutionizing the procedure’s efficiency and comfort. Unlike conventional finger pricks, this innovation is cost-effective, expanding access to healthcare in developing nations.

The device features a compact suction cup outfitted with a cluster of microneedles, gently piercing the skin to retrieve blood. This approach minimizes discomfort while ensuring ample blood samples, potentially improving diagnostic accuracy.

The User-Friendly Design Making Healthcare More Accessible

Its user-friendly design and safety profile make it ideal for non-clinical settings, enabling individuals without medical expertise to utilize it effectively.

Currently, it uses silicone and steel, but a biodegradable version is in development. Trials on pigs have provided manufacturing insights. Further funding is needed for human trials, particularly in malaria regions, aiming to help needle-phobic individuals, including children.

While this technology is still under development, it holds promise for a more pleasant and safer blood sampling experience for both needle-phobic individuals, including children, as well as healthcare workers.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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