Making Diabetes Test Strips from Silk
A company based in Bangalore, India, Achira Labs, has come up with a way to hand weave diabetes test strips out of silk. The silk material can provide several advantages in a country such as India were weavers are able to work with a handloom are in great supply and silk is considered to be inexpensive.
People that have diabetes need test strips in order to monitor their blood sugar levels. The patient pricks a finger and then dabs a drop of blood onto the test strip. The test strip is then inserted into a glucose reader which provides a reading. The new product is set to be released this year.
The silk sensors are able to be the standards of the FDA. In addition, the cost is less than the current cost of plastic diabetes testing strips which can cost roughly $25 in India. The price point is important because India has the second highest number of diabetes cases in the world right behind China.
The strip also offers a new method of earning money for women. The weavers that create the test strips for Achira are able to create 100,000 strips roughly every six hours by using a traditional handloom. The team will also be able to recruit more women weavers across India thanks to a grant of $100,000 from Grand Challenges Canada.
Since prices for silk are higher in the United States, it is likely that these test strips will not be used because the silk is typically reserved for fabrics for clothing. However, the test strips will be a boon to markets where silk prices are especially cheap.