News / Health

Color-Coded HIV Test Detects Infection Quickly and Cheaply

Jessica Berman
Researchers have developed a new test for HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - that is reported to be ten times more sensitive and much less expensive than existing methods.  The new test could significantly improve diagnosis and treatment in the developing world.

The new HIV blood test uses microscopic gold flecks, or nanoparticles, to detect the presence of an HIV marker - a viral protein called p-24 - in the patient's blood serum, according to Molly Stevens, a professor of biomedical materials at Imperial College, London.

“And the way it does that is by making some gold nanoparticles aggregate together in a clump, and that will look blue to the eye, whereas if the disease-related protein isn’t there, then those nanoparticles will stay very separate, which will look red to the eye," said Stevens.
 
Stevens says the nanoparticle test is more sensitive than conventional HIV blood testing. So far, she says, researchers have successfully used the color test on both HIV-positive and uninfected individuals.

“And, in fact, also [with] patients with HIV who had a very tiny viral load that wasn’t able to be detected with conventional techniques.  So, we were actually able to detect virus in those patients that would have rendered a negative signal," she said.

Stevens says the goal now is to make the prototype HIV test more portable and user-friendly, so it can be delivered and administered anywhere. She says it would be especially useful in poorer regions of the world where medical resources are scarce, infection rates are high, and the need for simple, fast HIV screening is great.

Rapid HIV detection is critical to halting the spread of the life-threatening virus and allowing HIV-positive individuals to begin antiretroviral drug therapy as soon as possible.

An article on the development of a highly sensitive low-cost HIV test is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

You May Like

VOA EXCLUSIVE: Myanmar Questions Migrants Found Stranded Offshore​

Officials say it will take three days before they can determine status of people and decide what to do with them More

Russia’s Online Assault Evaporates Internet Freedom

Russia's government is increasingly censoring the web - and the Russian public may be OK with that More

Advances in Wearable Devices Emerge at Asia's Top High-tech Show

Just 45.7 million wearables are expected to ship this year across brands, but by 2019 the market is predicted to grow to 126 million units More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Relatives Call for Release of American Captives in Irani
X
June 02, 2015 10:24 PM
Relatives of Americans held captive or missing in Iran are calling on the Obama administration to press for their release during nuclear negotiations with Tehran. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Relatives Call for Release of American Captives in Iran

Relatives of Americans held captive or missing in Iran are calling on the Obama administration to press for their release during nuclear negotiations with Tehran. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Texas Floods Test Agencies' Ability to Coordinate in Emergency

The recent floods in Texas have demonstrated the value of emergency management systems to coordinate the efforts of local, state and federal government agencies as well as private relief groups. VOA’s Greg Flakus filed this report from Houston on how the system worked during recent flooding.
Video

Video UN Appeals For $500 Million to Fund Aid In Iraq

The United Nations will launch an appeal this week at the European Parliament for $500 million to support humanitarian aid operations in Iraq. U.N. officials say the existing programs in Iraq are running out of funds at a time when many more Iraqis are getting displaced and need help. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Heat-resistant Glassware Celebrates 100th Anniversary

One hundred years ago, a new brand of kitchenware named Pyrex entered the American market, firmly imprinting its name into the psyche of consumers. It is still being manufactured while the early models are now collectors’ items. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rescue Teams Try to Save Wildlife Affected by California Oil Spill

Dead animals have been found almost daily since a pipeline failed May 19, releasing thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean and beaches of central California, but rescue workers are trying their best to save stricken creatures. From SeaWorld San Diego, the primary care facility for mammals covered in oil, VOA's Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Legends of the Blues

As blues legend BB King is laid to rest in his hometown, Indianola, Mississippi, fans around the world are keeping his legacy and his music alive. Some of the musicians who played with King and other notable performers put out a recording under the name Original Legends of the Blues. Meet them and hear their music in this report written, narrated and directed by VOA Houston correspondent Greg Flakus.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs