Saturday , February 27 2021

Researchers develop affordable mobile-based tools to detect HIV



New York, November 10 (IANS) A research team has developed a portable and cheap mobile diagnostic tool that uses a mobile and nanotechnology that can detect HIV viruses and monitor their management in resource-limited regions.

The management of HIV, an autoimmune disease that infects the immune system by attacking healthy cells, remains a major global health challenge in developing countries without infrastructure and trained medical experts.

Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have designed this mobile-based new platform, as described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

"This fast and inexpensive mobile phone system represents a new method of detecting acute infection, which would reduce the risk of virus transmission and can also be used to detect early treatment failure," said senior writer Hadi Shafiee, doctor, major researcher at the Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine at Brigham.

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

By using nanotechnology, a microchip, a mobile phone and a 3D phone printing, Shafiee and his colleagues created a platform that can detect the virus's RNA nucleic acids from a single drop of blood.

The device detects the amplified HIV nucleic acids by phone monitoring the movement of DNA-constructed beads without using bulky or expensive equipment.

Researchers found that the platform made it possible to detect HIV with 99.1 percent specificity and 94.6 percent sensitivity at a clinically relevant threshold of 1000 virus particles / ml – with results within an hour.

In particular, the total material cost of microchip, phone mount and reagent was less than $ 5 per test.

"Health workers in developing countries can easily use these devices as they travel to perform HIV testing and monitoring. Because the test is so fast, critical decisions about the next medical step can be done there," said Shafiee.

"We can use the same technology as a fast and cheap diagnostic tool for other viruses and bacteria too," says leading writer Mohamed Shehata Draz.

–IANS

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