New portable HIV detecting device has been made to rapidly detect acute infection to reduce the risk of virus transmission and detect early treatment failure, finds a new study. The findings of this study are published in the Nature Communications.
The management of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV), an autoimmune disorder that cripples the immune system by attacking healthy cells, remains a major global health challenge in developing countries that lack infrastructure and trained medical professionals. Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have designed a portable and affordable mobile diagnostic tool, utilizing a cellphone and nanotechnology, with the ability to detect HIV viruses and monitor its management in resource-limited regions. The novel platform is described in a paper published recently in Nature Communications.
‘The device can detect HIV with 99.1 percent specificity and 94.6 percent sensitivity and that too, the results can be obtained within one hour. The total cost of the materials required for the test has been found to be less than $5 per test.’
"Early detection of HIV is critical to prevent disease progression and transmission, and it requires long-term monitoring, which can be a burden for families that have to travel to reach a clinic or hospital," said senior author Hadi ¬¬Shafiee, PhD, a principal investigator in the Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine at the Brigham. "This rapid and low-cost cellphone system represents a new method for detecting acute infection, which would reduce the risk of virus transmission and could also be used to detect early treatment failure
Traditional virus monitoring methods for HIV are expensive, requiring the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Shafiee and his colleagues sought to design an affordable, simple tool that makes HIV testing and monitoring possible for individuals in developing countries with less access to medical care.
Utilizing nanotechnology, a microchip, a cell phone, and a 3D-printed phone attachment, the researchers created a platform that can detect the RNA nucleic acids of the virus from a single drop of blood
The device detects the amplified HIV nucleic acids through on-phone monitoring of the motion of DNA-engineered beads without using bulky or expensive equipment
. The detection precision was evaluated for specificity and sensitivity.
Researchers found that the platform allowed the detection of HIV with 99.1 percent specificity and 94.6 percent 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 countries could easily use these devices 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.
"This would eliminate the burden of trips to the medical clinic and provide individuals with a more efficient means for managing their HIV."
"We could use this same technology as a rapid and low-cost diagnostic tool for other viruses and bacteria as well," said lead author Mohamed Shehata Draz, ¬¬PhD, an instructor in the Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine at the Brigham. "This platform could help a lot of people worldwide."