Scientists at the University of Illinois and Daktari Diagnostics have teamed up to create a bio-chip that detects HIV – but wait, there’s more…
We’ve had rapid testing for years, these tests rely on a chemical reaction to make a marker show up on a stick or a piece of paper – much like a pregnancy test. That might be about to all change with the new bi0-chip from the University of Illinois and Daktari Diagnostics.
The microfluidic bio-chip works with just a single drop of blood, the blood then fills small chambers packed with sensors which not only detect the presence of HIV in the sample but also give accurate CD4 counts – within minutes.
How big is this technology? It all fits on a piece of plastic the size of a credit card. The developers have priced both the bio-chips and the portable reader at 10 USD and 1000 USD respectively – which is a considerable cost cutting compared to other rapid testing kits.
The target market of the device, at least initially, is the developing world where people have to travel hours to get a HIV test and/or CD4 count performed – this test can offer both of those functions, enabling the patients to only travel to clinics when absolutely necessary.
The scientists behind the ‘lab on a chip’ hope to further expand its abilities, in time, into other areas.
Photo credit: Microfluidics chip courtesy University of British Columbia