NOV 16, 2018 05:34 PM PST

Novel 'Cellphone' Technology Detects HIV

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV), weakens the immune system by attacking healthy cells.

Currently, the management of HIV remains a major global health challenge particularly in developing nations that lack the resources necessary for treatment.

Now, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed unique cellphone technology capable of serving as a diagnostic tool through the detection of HIV viruses. The technology can combat the global health challenges being faced by HIV by managing it in resource-limited regions. Since traditional approaches for monitoring HIV are expensive and require the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), investigators were motivated to create an affordable and simple tool that can diagnose and test for HIV for individuals living in regions with less access to medical care.

The novel approach was described in the study published in Nature Communications.

"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," explains senior author Hadi Shafiee, PhD, and 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."

The technology consists of a cell phone with a microchip and a 3D-printed phone attachment—the resulting product would then detect the RNA nucleic acids of the HIV virus from a single drop of blood. Specifically, the novel technology would detect the amplified HIV nucleic without expensive equipment.

Schematic presentation of HIV-1 detection using the cellphone system.

Image Credit: Nature Communications, from the paper, “DNA engineered micromotors powered by metal nanoparticles for motion based cellphone diagnostics”

"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," says Shafiee. "This would eliminate the burden of trips to the medical clinic and provide individuals with a more efficient means for managing their HIV."

Source: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Nature Communications

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 30, 2018
SEP 30, 2018
Bridging Psychology and Gamification
To significantly impact learning efforts in user experience design, healthcare, and government, a research team is seeking to close the gap between psychol...
NOV 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2018
International Space Station Receives Fresh Supplies From Back-to-Back Rocket Launches
Both the United States and Russian space agencies share the burden of sending fresh food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station every few m...
NOV 25, 2018
NOV 25, 2018
Brain-Computer Interface Restores Communication in Paralysis
Smart devices have become significant parts of our everyday life. But for individuals suffering from paralysis, using such devices can serve as a challenge...
NOV 28, 2018
NOV 28, 2018
Nanorobots That can Move Through the Eye
Researchers want to create tiny drug delivery systems that can move through biological tissue....
DEC 03, 2018
DEC 03, 2018
Stentrode: No Surgery Focused Brain stimulation
Brain stentrode, a brain interfacing electrode that is implanted within a blood vessel...
DEC 11, 2018
DEC 11, 2018
Biosensors developed that can detect cancer's metastatic ability
Researchers in University of California San Diego School of Medicine have developed a biosensor that can detect whether a cancer cell will spread in the future or not, which will help in deve...
Loading Comments...