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Team develops one-minute HIV test

Updated: Tuesday, April 29 2014, 08:28 AM EDT

Henrietta, N.Y. — A team of researchers have developed a DNA test that they say can perform an hour’s worth of work in less than one minute.

There are various types of HIV tests, but when it comes to DNA testing, it’s a timely process. Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR typically takes one hour or more, according to Robert Juncosa, CEO of Thermal Gradient.

“Thermal gradient stands alone in our ability to do one minute PCR within the real-world requirements for high sensitivity, DNA sequence length, and the size of the test sample.”

Nucleic acid (DNA, RNA) tests are considered “needle-in-a haystack” types of tests.

“They can take small pieces of infectious material, magnify it so you can actually read it and detect it very, very early,” said William Valenti, M.D.

Valenti has been studying HIV and AIDS for three decades and considers the type of technology being developed by Thermal Gradient a “game changer.”

“The faster we can turn that sort of thing around, the earlier we can get someone into treatment,” Valenti said.

Juncosa said some of the tiny devices his company has created will be able to be portable and battery operated.

“You can go to third world countries where HIV, hepatitis (and) malaria are big problems,” Juncosa added.
“You can get people without very good health care, you can take the test to them.”

Thermal Gradient believes the advances will create a new market and is determining how to proceed. It may develop them on its own, work with partners to supplement companies that already do DNA testing as well as consider military applications.

Team develops one-minute HIV test

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