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HIV self monitoring device being developed

6th May 2009

Scientists in the UK are looking to develop hand-held devices that could allow people with HIV to monitor their condition at home.

hiv

The London-based researchers have been granted £2m to develop a hi-tech, finger prick blood-testing device, similar to those used by people with diabetes.

The gadget’s mechanical sensors - microcantilever arrays - would measure HIV levels to warn of impending flare ups with a display then flashing an alert to the user and warning them they may need to see their doctor.

Investigator Dr Anna-Maria Goretti, an NHS consultant and co-investigator based at the Royal Free Hospital, said: "If patients neglect to take their treatments or need prompting to see their GP the device will provide a simple way of letting them know.

"It will really empower HIV patients to keep a close eye on their health and their treatments."

The device would mean HIV patients would only see their doctor when there was a problem rather than at routine check-ups.

The mechanical sensors are coated with substances that stick to the HIV and other proteins, which are markers associated with disease progression.

Dr Rachel McKendry of University College London and the London Centre for Nanotechnology, said: "We have used microcantilever arrays to investigate drug resistance in superbugs such as MRSA, and are excited by the opportunity to extend this approach to detecting HIV markers."

For the three-year project Dr McKendry is working with Imperial College London, Cambridge Medical Innovations, Sphere Medical Ltd and BionanoConsulting.

The Terrence Higgins Trust said the device was a good idea.

 

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