An astounding high school science project may change the face of HIV diagnosis the world over. IFLScience.com reports that 16-year-old Nicole Ticea has developed an HIV test that allows a user to place a drop of blood on a microchip and receive a near instant test result.
This test actually tests for the virus, unlike current testing technology which looks for antibodies. More recently an antigen test was approved for use in the U.S., and it shrinks the window between infection and detection as well. The antigen test looks for a specific protein from the viral envelope. In some instances, PCR technology—the test which looks for the virus in the blood by amplifying it—can also be used for early diagnosis. But the PCR technology is lengthy and costly. Ticea's test is likely to be much more simple.
The technology Ticea's test uses is already in use for diagnosis of other diseases as well.
The new test, if approved, could result in earlier diagnosis and earlier intervention with ARV treatment. That could result in less transmisson of HIV and better outcomes for people living with HIV.
Ticea also won an award for her work, and moves onto the Canadian national science competition.