Technology has just reached its peak, as researchers have created a disposable HIV test that offers a result in minutes.
The inexpensive USB stick test requires a single drop of blood to identify the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can be used at home.
Though there is currently no cure for HIV, medicine has come a long way since its initial diagnosis in 1981 and most cases no longer lead on to full-on AIDS.
The treatment for HIV consists of a cocktail of drugs, which keep the virus from multiplying and evolving. It is important that sufferers monitor the spread of the virus in their bodies and this cheap and easy USB test will help to revolutionize how doctors monitor the disease, giving the patient the freedom to test themselves from the comfort of their own home.
It is also a cheaper solution than hiring doctors and nurses to conduct the tests, which will be extremely beneficial to poor countries that lack doctors, technology and funds.
Users prick their fingers to release a small drop of blood onto a chip installed on the USB stick. If the viral load in the blood is substantial, the blood will cause a change in the chip’s acidity, which the chip then transforms into an electrical signal. The results can then be read on a computer screen.
The chip has been tried out on 991 blood samples taken from people who have HIV and so far the results have been promising, with an 88.8% result accuracy.
Researchers at Imperial College London will continue to develop the tool, with hopes that it will one day be used to test for other diseases, including hepatitis.