Answer: five minutes.
Starting next year, you may be able to test yourself for the most common allergies with just five minutes and a drop of blood. A few years ago, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) began work on developing a high-speed allergy test. In 2010, Abionic, a spinoff of EPFL, took over the project. The resulting tech has recently been cleared for deployment in Europe and will be coming to the U.S. in 2018.
Called AbioScope, the device combines a drop of blood with a reagent on the mounting plate, and the blood then forms molecular complexes with test capsules. An integrated fluorescent microscope laser then looks for those complexes and uses them to determine what allergies may be present in the blood. Initial results appear on AbioScope’s screen within just five minutes, with full results following about three minutes later.
Unfortunately the system can currently only test for four kinds of allergies: dogs, cats, common grasses and tree pollens. But since these elements are the culprits behind many of the most common allergies, the tech may be able to help people figure out what exactly is aggravating them in order to better prevent it.