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Globally, it is estimated that more than 33.3 million people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 2009, over half of them were women. Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) of HIV has become a new priority for the US President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) since 2006. The proposed research will enable more sensitive, accurate point-of-care detection of HIV in order to improve public health. 

Current antibody point-of-care tests cannot distinguish between a mother’s and baby’s antibodies to detect if an infant has become infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). According to a recent joint WHO/UNAIDS/UNICEF report only an estimated 28 percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers obtained an HIV test within the first two months. Therefore, there are unmet needs for new and improved diagnostics that can be applied at the point-of-care to detect HIV infections. A highly sensitive, simple paper strip molecular test that detects HIV at the point-of-care will be developed. The target sequences are amplified using the TARA (Template-Assisted Rapid Assay) technology which is composed of a template-dependent chemical transfer reaction with high turnover, gold nanoparticle-HRP and lateral flow readout. The test should be rapid (<40 minutes), and results in the appearance of colored bands that are detectable by eye or are captured using a smartphone scanner.

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