Saturday , June 19 2021

Researchers are developing a low-cost mobile-based HIV detection tool

Traditional methods of monitoring HIV viruses are expensive, which requires the use of PCR

The team of researchers has developed a portable and inexpensive mobile diagnostic tool using cell phones and nanotechnologies that can detect HIV viruses and track their management in limited resource regions.

HIV management, an autoimmune disorder that cripples the immune system by attacking healthy cells, remains a major global health challenge in developing countries that do not have the infrastructure and trained medical specialists.

Researchers from Brigham and the Women's Hospital have designed this new mobile-based platform, described in the journal Nature Communications.

"This fast and inexpensive mobile phone system is a new method of detecting acute infections that would reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and could also be used to detect early failure of treatment," said chief researcher Hadi Shafie's Department of Medical Engineering and Renal Division of Medicine in Brigham.

Traditional methods of monitoring HIV viruses are expensive, which requires the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Using nanotechnology, microchip, cell phones and 3D-print attachments, Mr Shafiee and colleagues have created a platform that can detect nucleic acid RNA viruses from a single drop in blood.

The device detects increased HIV nucleic acid by monitoring the movement of DNA-engineered grains without using expensive or expensive equipment.

Researchers found that the platform enabled detection of HIV with 99.1% specificity and 94.6% of susceptibility at a clinically relevant threshold of 1000 viral particles per ml with results within one hour.

Significantly, the total cost of microchip, phone, and reagent materials was less than $ 5 per test.

"Healthcare workers in developing countries could easily use these devices when traveling to perform HIV testing and monitoring. Since testing is so fast, critical decisions about the next medical step can be done right there," said Mr. Shafiee.

"The same technology can be used as a fast and inexpensive diagnostic tool for other viruses and bacteria," said chief author Mohamed Shehata Draž.

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