UK Research Team Develops Diagnostic USB Device That Detects HIV and Measures Viral Load from Human Blood for Use in Developing Countries
Clinical laboratory assays on a USB stick could become a powerful tool in the treatment and containment of HIV-1 in low-resource regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa
Imagine a small USB device that plugs into a computer and, using a small sample of blood, is capable of detecting the presence of HIV and measuring its viral load in that individual. Such technology exists and was created by a team of scientists in the United Kingdom (UK). However, it is not yet ready for use by clinical laboratories.
Researchers at Imperial College London company, DNA Electronics, have developed a diagnostic USB stick that measures the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as the viral load in a person’s blood, and in less than 30 minutes. The platform promises to be an important milestone for the medical laboratory treatment and containment of pandemic diseases that pose a serious threat to global health.
A story published on the mobile technology news blog Quartz pointed out that more than 24-million of the 37-million people worldwide infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. It is widely recognized that high cost and lack of access to medical care and clinical laboratory services remain a barrier to diagnosis, treatment, and containment of the disease. “[I]mproving diagnostics is now a key part of global strategies to combat [HIV],” wrote the study authors in a paper published in Nature Research journal Scientific Reports. (more…)