Medical News

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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