Silver for Delft iGEM team
Students from Delft have won second prize in the annual synthetic biology competition iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) with their prototype of a test that can detect vitamin deficiencies, called AptaVita. Vitamin deficiencies are particularly problematic in developing countries.
When a drop of blood contains a too low concentration of a certain vitamin, the strip of the test turns colour. At present it only works for vitamin B, but in the future the test could give an indication of the concentration of all necessary vitamins. Normally, antibodies are used for the detection of vitamins in blood. AptaVita uses aptamers - folded RNA molecules. That should make the test cheaper, the students say.
The annual international competition, started by the American university MIT, attracts more than 350 teams from all over the world. The goal is to solve social problems.