UK researchers have developed a cheap test which could detect even low levels of viruses and some cancers. The color of the liquid changes to give a negative or positive result. The designers from the Imperial college London says that the device could lead to more widespread testing for HIV and other diseases in parts of the World allowing a more affordable way for testing.
The prototype needs wider testing, but is described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The test can be configured to a unique signature of a disease or virus such as a protein that can be found on the surface of HIV. If the marker is present, it changes the course of a chemical reaction. The color results in blue if the protein marker is there, and red if not. This allows the results to be tested with the naked eye according to researchers.
Professor Molly Stevens spoke with BBC and stated that, “this method should be used when the presences of a target molecule at ultra-low concentration could improve the diagnosis of disease. ”
Clinical trials on a much larger scale need to be done, but the early testing has shown that the presence of markers of HIV and prostate cancer could be detected. Researchers of the product expect their designs will cost 10 times less than the current tests available. This will be important for countries that cannot afford proper testing of HIV. Dr. Roberto de la Rica said, “This test could be significantly cheaper to administer, which could pave the way for more widespread use of HIV testing in poorer parts of the world.”
Signed, Isidori Mtabo