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Handheld Device Brings Fast HIV Testing to Remote Areas

January 31, 2013

A recent article in Clinical Chemistry features the collaboration between Samuel K. Sia, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and Applied Science School, and ICAP to field test a new handheld device that performs laboratory-quality HIV testing and simultaneously synchronizes results with central health care records. The device, developed by Sia, is 10 times faster than the currently used ELISA diagnostic technique, and can check HIV status with a simple finger prick.

Working with ICAP, the Rwandan Ministry of Health, OPKO Diagnostics, and Rwandan collaborators at Muhima Hospital and two health clinics—Projet San Francisco and Projet Ubuzima, Sia and his team assessed the device’s ability to perform HIV testing and then synchronized results in real time with the patients’ electronic health records. They successfully tested over 200 serum, plasma, and whole blood samples.

“This is an important step forward towards making a real impact on patients,” says Jessica Justman, MD, senior technical director at ICAP and associate clinical professor of medicine in epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “And with the real-time data upload, policymakers and epidemiologists can also monitor disease prevalence across geographical regions more quickly and effectively.”

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