Researchers are Developing a Mobile DNA Test for HIV

Researchers from Rice University have found a way to detect HIV in a sample of DNA, using a portable machine.
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Researchers from Rice University have found a way to detect HIV in a sample of DNA, using a portable machine.
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Current HIV diagnoses require large PCR machines that can separate and read DNA, and only technical experts can use these machines properly. For those living in places of limited resources, getting a proper HIV diagnosis is near impossible. Researchers from Rice University may have found a way to fix that. 

Bioengineering grad students Brittany Rohrman and Zachary Crannell developed a way to detect HIV through a sample of DNA. The technique is called Recombinase Polymerase Amplification (RPA) and can count markers of HIV by quickly multiplying the DNA markers. The HIV DNA sequence is then marked with florescence, which go through a portable machine to be counted. 

The researchers originally developed the method for infant diagnoses, but they soon realized it was a viable option for adult patients as well. This monitoring process also indicates how well treatments are working. 

They are continuing to modify the method before testing begins. Currently, the researchers are looking for ways to use RPA in room or body temperatures.