Diagnosing HIV may have just gotten a lot easier, faster, and cheaper. Developers at Columbia University have recently announced that they're experiencing success with the
"mChip," a plastic chip that requires just a drop of blood and 15 minutes to diagnose HIV. At $1 each chip, the effort is an exciting, inexpensive way to quickly diagnose the virus.
Fast Company has more:
The "mChip", a credit-card-sized piece of plastic that is produced using a plastic injection molding process, tests for multiple diseases with just one pinprick of blood. There are no moving parts, and the microfluidics-based chip can be analyzed with help from a cheap optical sensor.
According to results published this week in Nature Medicine, the chip detects 100% of cases when used to test HIV or syphilis and HIV together, with a 4% to 6% false positive rate. That's similar to what is seen with standard lab tests in the developed world.
The chip could be used as a huge step forward in some African countries, where insufficient technology and monetary resources have proved to be huge roadblocks in diagnosing HIV. Blood tests can take weeks, and obviously, a lack of awareness of HIV, especially when coupled with a lack of sexual health education, can lead to a devastating proliferation of HIV. But with the mChip, the researchers hope, diagnoses can be made easier, which would also ease prevention and treatment of the disease.