Sunday, March 20, 2016

What an Advanced HIV Test Could Mean for the Newly Diagnosed

I love HIVEqual (David Heitz's articles especially) for there constant wealth of educating articles and always up to date information. I admire any read which leaves no debate either because it's talking about something that is soon coming so it leaves you informed and anticipating or is backed up by case studies and/or input from a medical professional... click title for actual article on website

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MARCH 17TH, 2016

When it comes to ending HIV/AIDS, diagnostic tests likely will play as important a role as patient treatments themselves.
Chemists at Stanford University are in the very early stages of developing a test for certain cancers and HIV that is thousands of times more sensitive than the tests we currently have or are in development. The new assays are even being tested in clinical trials.
Unveiled last month in the peer-reviewed journal ACS Central Science, the Agglutination-PCR detects antibodies by using a short strand of DNA. The DNA attaches to the molecule that binds to the antibody that emerges to fight the disease. The DNA strand is far easier to find than standard “flags” used in most assays that fish for disease antibodies.
“This is spiritually related to a basic science tool we were developing to detect protein modifications, but we realize that the core principles were pretty straightforward and that the approach might be better served as a diagnostic tool,” Peter Robinson, co-author of the study, said in a Stanford news release.
The benefit of a highly sensitive disease assay, of course, is to catch and treat the illness early. One hope has been that with the right early detection tools, doctors may someday be able to cure people of HIV who are very recently infected.
The researchers already have tested their assay on thyroid cancer, which can be notoriously difficult to detect due to false positive and false negatives. “We suspected ours would be more sensitive, but we were pleasantly surprised by the magnitude,” Robinson explained in the news release.
Due to the success of the thyroid test, the researchers have won more grants to conduct additional trials. One trial underway at the Alameda County Public Health Laboratory will determine whether the assay is a suitable screening tool for HIV.
“Many of our collaborators are excited that the test can be readily deployed in their lab,” said co-author Cheng-ting “Jason” Tsai, in the Stanford news release. “In contrast to many new diagnostic techniques, this test is performed on pre-existing machines that most clinical labs are already familiar with.”
Test screens for resistance to HIV drugs
In the meantime, a lab described as a “Harvard University spinout” by MedCityNews, Aldatu Biosciences, is developing a platform that would gauge a person’s HIV drug resistance.
MedCityNews reported Aldatu’s goal is to “cost-effectively match patients with drugs that will actually work – that is, seek out a cocktail of HIV medication to which they aren’t resistant.”
While access to HIV drugs is increasingly around the globe, so is resistance to some of those drugs. The first test developed by Aldatu is meant for use in Africa, MedCityNews reported.