This USB stick can test HIV levels in less than 30 minutes

USB stick that can test HIV levels

Scientists at Imperial College of London and UK-based biotech company DNA Electronics have developed a USB stick-based HIV test capable of sophisticated detection in a fraction of the time of a standard test.

The device needs a single drop of blood to work, measuring the levels of HIV-1, changing the acidity, and transmitting the results as an electrical signal that can be sent to a computer or mobile device. The process takes less than 30 minutes to complete, rather than the multiple day-long wait and lab requirements of other (regular) tests.

In its current form, however, the test is best suited for patients who already know they have the virus, rather than serving as first-time detection. In that sense, it could be useful to those on retroviral drugs, detecting whether the medication is doing its intended job and keeping HIV levels down, or whether the virus has developed a resistance to the drugs. This in turn could make the device a useful tool for patients who could monitor HIV levels at home in much the same way diabetics do with blood sugar. Finally, the portable device of this sort could prove useful to those in remote locations who don’t have immediate access to medical care…

[Via: TechCrunch]