A 15 year old high school student has developed a faster, cheaper way to test for HIV that could revolutionize the battle against HIV.
With the majority of HIV infections occurring in regions where access to HIV testing labs is difficult, the introduction of a low-cost rapid HIV test could provide a swift diagnosis which could cut the chances that an infected person will accidentally infect future partners.
Nicole Ticea, a 10th grader at York House School in Vancouver, developed the test using Isothermic Nucleic Acid Amplification as part of a collaboration program with Simon Fraser University
The test allows users to place a drop of blood on a chip to receive a near instantaneous result to find out if they are infected.
According to iflscience:
Ticea used techniques that have been successful in identifying other viral infections and applied them to HIV for the first time. Rather than looking for antibodies to HIV, as the majority of existing tests do, Ticea amplifies the virus itself. This removes the window during which people are infected, but still show up as negative on antibody tests because the immune system has yet to gear up its response. Existing viral amplification tests for HIV are expensive and time consuming.