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Cheap and Quick HIV Testing Made Possible With DVD Scanners

April 12, 2013

Researchers at Stockholm, Sweden's School of Biotechnology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology report they have converted a DVD player into a laser scanning microscope that can complete an HIV test in a few minutes. According to senior lecturer Aman Russom, the "Lab-on-DVD" player can "analyze blood and perform cellular imaging with one-micrometer resolution."

Conversion of the dated DVD technology may provide a fast, cost-effective technology for healthcare in the developing world. Standard HIV testing uses flow cytometry to analyze CD4 counts from blood samples, but each flow cytometry unit costs approximately $30,000, plus maintenance costs. In contrast, a mass-produced Lab-on-DVD player would cost less than $200. The Lab-on-DVD players also would be more portable and require less training to operate than a flow cytometry unit.

The quick HIV test results provided by the Lab-on-DVD players would make it possible for patients to receive their HIV test results at the first visit rather than returning for a follow-up visit to get test results.

The full report, "Bioimaging: Lab on a DVD," was published online in the journal Nature Phototonics (2013; doi:10.1038/nphoton.2013.64).

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