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New HIV spit test 100% more accurate than current tests

This new method is reportedly able to detect the HIV virus two weeks after exposure.

HIV spit test
Swab test | Photo: frolicsomepl via Pixaby

Stanford University scientists are developing a new spit test for HIV.

The new test is between 1,000 and 10,000 more sensitive than current ones available.

Scientists published a report in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. In a study of four dozen patients, the newly developed test was 100% accurate.

They published the report on 22 January.

The new method is reportedly able to detect the HIV virus two weeks after exposure.

Researchers say if the results are similar among a larger sample size, it will be a break through in the fight to end HIV.

Spit is a far cheaper and less invasive method of collection when it comes to testing for HIV.

However, spit has an incredibly low level of HIV antibodies. This is why researchers have struggled with making spit tests accurate so far.

Stanford chemist Carolyn Bertozzi has found a way to turn antigens carrying the virus into a DNA signature.

Scientists can amply and identify this signature.

Bertozzi explained: ‘You can’t amplify a protein. There’s no way to amplify a protein. But if you can somehow convert a protein to a DNA signature, then you can amplify the DNA.’

This technique could in theory be used to screen for other illnesses such as measles.

 

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