A researcher at UC Davis has developed a "lab on a chip" device for HIV testing, which is quick and pocket friendly.
Biomedical engineer Prof. Alexander Revzin's microfluidic device uses antibodies to "capture" white blood cells called T cells that are affected by HIV.
In addition to physically binding these cells the test detects the types and levels of inflammatory proteins (cytokines) released by the cells.
Revzin's team collaborated with UCLA electrical engineer Prof. Aydogan Ozcan to integrate an antibody microarray with a lensfree holographic imaging device that takes only seconds to count the number of captured cells and amount of secreted cytokine molecules.
The test returns results six to twelve times faster than traditional approaches and tests six parameters simultaneously, based on a small blood sample.
With further refinements, the test will have wide potential use for multi-parametric blood analysis performed at the point of care in the developing world and resource-poor areas.
Its affordability will also make it an attractive option in wealthier areas.
Revzin has filed for a patent and is looking for ways to bring his test into clinical use.
"In addition to HIV testing and monitoring, this device will be useful for blood transfusions, where the safety of blood is frequently in question," said Revzin.
The HIV test addresses two distinct challenges of blood analysis: 1) capturing the desired cell type from blood, which contains multiple cell types, and 2) connecting the desired blood cell type with secreted cytokines.
The study is published in a recent issue of Analytical Chemistry.