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New Type of HIV Test Carried Out on a USB

Scientists at the Imperial College London and at DNA Electronics have worked together to develop a USB drive HIV test. The test uses a small sample of the patient’s blood to detect the HIV virus and then generates an electrical signal that can be read by a computer or mobile device.

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This disposable test is a major breakthrough as it allows for almost instant results and could even be used by patients to test their own blood and monitor treatments. Additionally, this type of test could enable patients in remote areas to be managed and treated more efficiently.

An Accurate Test

Research published in the Scientific Reports journal shows that the HIV USB stick test is incredibly accurate and can produce a result in approximately 30 minutes. With testing often being an issue in more rural areas, this option could change the way patients receive treatments.


Along with the development and testing of vaccines run by pharmaceutical consulting companies there is a massive demand for reliable, easily accessible HIV tests on a global scale. Any agencies that deal with pharmaceutical consulting for this disease can attest to this, and the demand or testing facilities is especially high in underdeveloped or rural areas.

Smart Technology Made Simple

The USB stick HIV test uses new technology that monitors the amount of the virus in the bloodstream, and this is critical to not only identifying if someone is HIV positive, but in their ongoing treatment. Essentially, scientists took the job that’s usually conducted by a machine the size of a photocopier and reduced it to the size of a chip that fitted into a USB. This makes it perfectly portable and the 30 minute turnaround time means that patients can receive their results on the same day.

Current HIV tests can take 3 days or more for results and often requires blood to be sent for testing in a lab. This isn’t always possible and many HIV positive people are unaware of their status, as getting tested is simply too difficult.

Although this newly developed tech is in its early stages it could change the way HIV testing is done in the future, and could mean a better quality of life from those that are affected yet are unable to have a simple test done due to extenuating factors.