New microchip can detect HIV and syphilis in a drop of blood
Researchers have developed a simple microchip which is capable of successfully identifying HIV and syphilis with less than a drop of blood.
The new test is about the size of credit card, and researchers announced that is extremely effective in identifying HIV and syphilis infections, the Washington Post reports.
The lab on a chip trial shows 100-percent detection of HIV-positive cases, with only one false positive out of 70 total samples, according to the report. When a dual test of HIV and syphilis was performed, the chip had similar accuracy for HIV; 94 percent of syphilis cases were detected, though there was a higher rate — four out of 67 total samples — for false positives.
This is fantastic news to increase the number of tests done in the international field where testing is burdensome (rural Africa for instance) and it could boost testing in the U.S. as well. The test takes about 20 minutes to register results, and researchers say that the chips can be programmed to identify many diseases. The company said it was looking at a way to develop an easy diagnostic system where a person would literally see a yes or a no for various diseases being tested for.
Better news? This test will cost $2 to $3 while the current field tests cost over $4 each — so testing would become cheaper. That in itself might help the country reach the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal of 25 percent fewer infections by 2015, and it might also assist in addressing the disparate infection rates in the U.S.