A group of young scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) (Tomsk, Russia) have developed a prototype device for rapid meldonium testing. One of the young scientists, Olga Mezentseva presented the device at the third U-NOVUS young scientist forum’s competition held in Tomsk, Russia.
Utilizing existing technology utilized by scientists at TPU for detection of organic substances, Mezentseva and her team applied an electrochemical method that allows rapid detection of meldonium, which immediately displays the results of any substances present.
“The most popular method to test meldonium in the athlete blood is gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection” commented Mezentseva.
“This method involves using rare and expensive reagents; the process of samples preparation for analysis is also expensive. Our reagents are affordable, and therefore inexpensive. The electrodes, which we use in the device are standard and fit most voltohmmeter devices.”
Although similar to existing drug testing device, the prototype created by TPU is transportable, easier to use and cost-friendly. The device will cost up to 100,000 roubles (approximately $1520)
“Initially, our research team developed a technique for rapid meldonium testing in the athlete body, but now we have set ourselves a broader task – to develop devices to test athletes on different types of drugs,” she added.
The young scientists are now looking into ways to further enhance the device.
“Firstly a prototype of our device was presented at U-NOVUS forum for young scientists. Now we are carrying out with colleagues’ metrological evaluation of the developed technique. Plan to develop the chosen direction, improve the device.
By the end of 2016, we intend to create the first prototypes of universal electrochemical analyzers,” stated Mezentseva .
The pilot device is hoped to be used to detect other performance enhancing substances used by athletes.