News Daily Spot: The USB that tells you if you have HIV in less than 30 minutes

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The USB that tells you if you have HIV in less than 30 minutes

Created by scientists at Imperial College London and DNA Electronics, it analyzes a drop of blood and detects the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). To know the results, simply connect it to a computer or a mobile device that has the necessary app. It not only tells us if there is HIV in the blood, it also informs us how much, something very useful for doctors, who can know well if they are giving results the treatments in the patient infected by this virus that can cause AIDS.

How does it work? A mobile phone chip identifies the change in blood acidity caused by the presence of HIV and transforms it into an electrical signal that USB transmits. According to their inventors, in the last tests analyzed 991 samples and achieved a success of 95% in the diagnosis. On average, the process took 20.8 minutes, although researchers wisely assert that it takes half an hour.

The device, disposable and very economical, has to go through additional tests and obtain approval from different health authorities, but could be very useful. Current HIV testing can take up to three days and require the sample to be sent to a laboratory, something that in many parts of the world - precisely where HIV and AIDS are most - is not possible.

Antiretroviral treatments reduce virus levels almost to zero, but sometimes HIV develops drug resistance and grows back in numbers. This USB would detect it and allow doctors to take action quickly.

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