Credit card size test

A credit card-sized chip can diagnose HIV infection and provide T cell counts to guide treatment, according to a recent paper in Science Translational Medicine. The fluid-processing chip provides accurate test results in less than 20 minutes using a single drop of blood that goes directly into the testing chamber and does not require trained handling.

The chip is designed to work in a battery-powered handheld device that would “deliver simple HIV diagnostics to patients anywhere in the world, regardless of geography or socioeconomic status,” the researchers say in the paper.

It takes a single drop of blood and returns a positive or negative result for HIV or syphilis, in about 15 minutes. And the results are presented, similar to a pregnancy test, so that anyone can understand what’s going on.

Not only is the device small, but dependable. The rare false positive (the test saying you have the virus when you don’t) is in line with standard lab tests of 4-6 percent of tests.

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