A rapid procedure that detects P24 antigen and HIV-RNA biomarkers simultaneously to early diagnose HIV within 72 hours of infection
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Newly infected individuals are transferring the virus prior to knowing their true status. This is a significant barrier to eliminating Human Immune Virus(HIV) even in the current era of antiretroviral therapy. Currently, 36.7 million people globally are living with the Virus. Measures to reduce the virus have been set up by the World Health Organisation however, these have been rendered ineffective due to lack of reliable methods to detect, quantify and characterise cells that harbour low levels of the virus. Currently, diagnosis of HIV infection is based on serology which is possible only 3 months after exposure, this is a drawback since almost half of new HIV infections come from individuals who have just been infected within 3months. Post-exposure prophylaxis(PEP) is taken within 72 hours of infection for 28 days to avoid becoming HIV-positive, this demands for early detection. Current technologies that detect the virus at an early stage have emerged recently, however, they are highly sophisticated, expensive which makes their deployment in low resource countries difficult. This research project is exploring a new procedure that can accurately detect the virus within the first 72hours of infection. This will be achieved by detecting both P24 antigen protein and HIV-RNA biomarkers simultaneously which appear in the blood within 24 hours-2days after HIV exposure using Magnetic sensors. Magnetic iron Oxide-based on Magnetic tunnel junction have been used in accurate detection and identification of biomolecules tagged with magnetic nanoparticles including HIV- DNA and p24 antigen protein. However, these have been detected separately in all the studies conducted. This research is detecting HIV-RNA instead of DNA and detecting both biomarkers labelled with magnetic nanoparticles at the same time using the magnetic sensor. Hence, individuals will know their true status 3 days after exposure and take PEP within 72 hours as recommended.