Brno’s Scientists Invent Device To Detect Methanol In Blood Within Minutes
Scientists from University of Masaryk in a partnership with WATREX Praha, s.r.o. have created a portable device that detects methanol in blood within a few minutes. Photo: Kateřina Šejvlová, Masarykova univerzita /CC-BY/ web Online.muni.cz
Brno, Sep 7 – (BD) In 2012, Czech Republic faced a tragic wave of bootleg alcohol deaths due to methanol poisoning. The crisis brought 48 deaths and permanent damages to the health of many others.
To avoid repeating such a catastrophe in the future, scientists form Ceitec, a scientific center of Masaryk University in a partnership with WATREX Praha, s.r.o. invented a new portable device that is able to detect poisoning of methanol in mere five minutes.
The process determines the existence of serum formic acid and methanol in blood through capillary electrophoresis (it is a family of electrokinetic separation methods performed in submillimeter diameter capillaries and in micro- and nanofluidic channels).
“A patient’s blood plasma sample is inserted into the device and the result is shown within five minutes. The value of the concentration of measured substances appears on the display and the indicator diodes light up. Green means everything is fine, and orange or red then signal poisoning,” the head of the investigation, Petr Kuban clarifies.
Methanol poisoning cause disturbances of consciousness and vision. In the extreme cases, methanol causes blindness and death. Antidote therapy, often using ethanol or fomepizole, is key to avoiding complications secondary to methanol intoxication.