A tiny biosensor could diagnose HIV within a week of infection
Charlotte Barker |
A Spanish team have developed an HIV test that can detect the viral capsid protein p24 at ultra-low concentrations in human plasma (1). Current HIV diagnostics are based on nucleic testing (NAT) or immunoassays. However, the sensitivity of the tests means that they can usually only detect the virus after it has been replicating for 2-4 weeks.
The new biosensor has a limit of detection of 10−5 pg/mL – equivalent to detecting one virion in 10 mL of plasma. That’s five orders of magnitude better than the best immunoassay, and two orders of magnitude better than NAT, allowing detection within a week of infection. What’s more, the results are ready in under five hours – a record for HIV testing.
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