Scientist develop's a USB device to check level of HIV present in the Blood

A new device the size of a USB stick has been developed to test for the level of HIV present in a person’s blood. The device works by placing a drop of blood from a patient with HIV is placed on a spot on the chip. If HIV is present, it will trigger a change in acidity, and this change is transformed into an electrical signal that is sent to the USB stick.

According to report, studies shown that the device has proving to be 95% effective as researchers have tested about 990 blood samples. The average time for a result was about 20 minutes. This is good for the study and treatment of HIV since Current tests for HIV levels can take at least three days and require blood to be sent to a laboratory, which can be very difficult in some parts of the world. Since the new device is portable, and testing takes less than 30 minutes I believe it is a welcome development.

In a statement co-author Dr. Graham Cooke, of the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London said, 
"Monitoring viral load is crucial to the success of HIV treatment," "At the moment, testing often requires costly and complex equipment that can take a couple of days to produce a result. We have taken the job done by this equipment, which is the size of a large photocopier, and shrunk it down to a USB chip,"
Testing for levels of HIV in the blood is important because it allows patients to see if their HIV medications are working properly. HIV treatments can lower levels of the virus in the blood to nearly zero, but if the virus develops resistance to the drugs, levels in the blood will rise.

Testing for HIV levels is also a way for doctors to check if patients are taking their HIV medications. Stopping these medications contributes to the development of the virus's drug resistance. However, the device will need to be further developed before it can be used by doctors and their patients, the researchers said.

The device was developed in conjunction with the company DNA Electronics

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