Early HIV detection in pregnant women and infants born to HIV-positive mothers using a flexible printed paper microchip

Organization: 
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Organization Location: 
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) remains the primary cause of HIV infection in infants in developing countries. Timely HIV detection and ART initiation in HIV-infected mothers can effectively prevent MTCT. Many infants born to women living with HIV are undiagnosed owing to unavailability of nucleic acid amplification tests. Routine antibody-based screening tests are not applicable to the diagnosis of infants born to HIV-infected mothers because these infants have high levels of HIV antibodies from their mothers for the first 18 months regardless of their HIV status. Correct diagnosis of HIV infection in infants is of utmost importance to guide early ART initiation and other supportive care. The significance of the proposed work is addressing an unmet clinical barrier in early detection of HIV-infected pregnant women and infants born to HIV-positive mothers by developing an inexpensive, disposable, and portable microchip technology for point-of-care viral load testing using a novel label-free electrical sensing of viral lysate on a paper-based microfluidic device. The integration of electrical detection as a sensitive modality, which is independent of human interpretation of color, with paper-based microfluidics that offers pump-free sample handling, portability, lightweight, and cost-effectiveness is novel.

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