New biochip may provide fast, accurate HIV diagnosis

A new, differential immuno-capture biochip, created by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is able to provide specific leukocyte counts that will help health professionals make a more accurate diagnosis of HIV infections.

The highly sensitive biosensor uses unique technology to locate sub-populations of white blood cells. This small, disposable biochip implements a microfluidic biosensor to determine the exact number of CD4+/CD8+ T cells. This provides a fast, accurate diagnosis for AIDS while still in the field.

"An important diagnostic biomarker for HIV/AIDS is the absolute count of the CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in the whole blood,” Rashid Bashir, an Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering and head of the Department of Bioengineering at the university, said. “The current diagnostic tool -- a flow cytometer -- is expensive, (and) requires large blood volume and a trained technician to operate. We have developed a microfluidic biosensor based on a differential immuno-capture electrical cell counting technology to enumerate specific cells in 20 minutes using 10 microliters of blood."

The chip could change the future of HIV diagnosis, which is significant, as there are approximately 34 million people with HIV/AIDS infections around the world. Many of these people live in remote areas where there are not adequate testing facilities.

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University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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