Innovación: ScanDisk – Researchers Make USB Drive To Detect HIV


Detecting HIV, one of the first steps to preventing the virus’s spread in countries without adequate health care, could one day be accomplished with little more than a USB drive.

That’s according to a research article published this week in the journal Nature. Its authors, from London’s Imperial College, devised a semiconductor that can read pH levels in the bloodstream to detect the presence of HIV in 20 minutes or less with 95 percent accuracy.


The chip they used is based on a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS), typically found in the image processors of smartphone cameras and DSLRs.

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It works much the same as a conventional HIV test, but doesn’t require a lab and days of waiting to analyze the results. The chip has embedded heaters and thermal sensors that allow it to detect the presence of nucleic acid. Meanwhile, its pH sensors detect the hydrogen created during DNA polymerization, which is one of the hallmarks of a norovirus like HIV.

Autor: Tom Brant


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