HIV can now be detected within a week of infection

A top research institution in Spain made it known on Thursday that it has patented an HIV test that can detect the AIDS-causing virus within a week of infection, the fastest yet.

A “biosensor” developed by scientists of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) detects the p24 antigen, a protein attached to the HIV virus, in human blood, the council said in a statement.

The technology “detects the protein at concentrations 100,000 times lower than in current techniques,” it said, and “during the first week after infection.”

“In addition, the total test time is four hours, 45 minutes, meaning clinical results could be obtained on the same day.”

The team’s findings were published in scientific journal PLOS One, and detail how, using existing technology, the new test makes “large-scale, low cost production possible,” with the potential for the chips to be used in countries with the highest transmission rates.

“its ingredients are manufactured using existing technology, thus making large-scale, and low-cost production possible” – javier tamayo, a csic researcher said.

The sensor is a rice grain-sized chip combining micro-mechanical silicon structures and gold nano-particles.

Current antigen tests can detect the virus only about three weeks after infection.

Tests that pick up HIV antibodies in the blood require an even longer wait. RNA tests can detect the virus directly after about 10 days, but are more expensive.

Early detection is crucial to stop an infected person unknowingly passing the virus on to other people through sex.