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Researchers develop affordable cellphone-based tool to detect HIV

IANS  |  New York 

A team of researchers has developed a portable and low-cost mobile diagnostic tool, utilising a cellphone and nanotechnology, that can detect viruses and monitor their management in resource-limited regions.

The management of HIV, an that cripples the immune system by attacking healthy cells, remains a major global health challenge in developing and trained medical professionals.

Investigators from Brigham and have designed this cellphone-based novel platform, described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

"This rapid and low-cost cellphone system represents a new method for detecting acute infection, which would reduce the risk of transmission and could also be used to detect early treatment failure," said Hadi Shafiee, PhD, in the in Medicine and at the Brigham.

Traditional monitoring methods for are expensive, requiring the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Utilising nanotechnology, a microchip, a cellphone and a 3D-printed phone attachment, Shafiee and his colleagues created a platform that can detect the RNA nucleic acids of the from a single drop of blood.

The device detects the amplified nucleic acids through on-phone monitoring of the motion of DNA-engineered beads without using bulky or expensive equipment.

Researchers found that the platform allowed the detection of HIV with 99.1 per cent specificity and 94.6 per cent sensitivity at a clinically relevant threshold value of 1,000 virus particles/ml -- with results within one hour.

Notably, the total material cost of the microchip, phone attachment and reagents was less than $5 per test.

"Health workers in developing when they travel to perform HIV testing and monitoring. Because the test is so quick, critical decisions about the next medical step could be made right there," said Shafiee.

"We could use this same as a for other viruses and bacteria as well," said

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 13:32 IST
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