HIV/AIDS is one of the most destructive pandemics in recorded human history, responsible for more than 25 million deaths. Millions of people are living with limited or no access to therapeutic treatments, mainly due to the high cost of anti-retroviral therapies and current diagnostic tests as well as due to the lack of basic infrastructure (e.g. lack of electricity, no trained personnel) that can support these diagnostic tests. The need for innovative, inexpensive diagnostic instrumentation technology that can be used in resource-limited settings is immediate.
Nikos Chronis, Anurag Tripathi, and James Riddell at the University of Michigan work together to develop a portable, battery-operated, MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems)-based imaging system for counting absolute number of CD4 cells from a microliter of blood sample. They use the term 'imaging system" to denote the different approach we follow for counting CD4 cells. Rather the reading single cells one-by-one (as it is done with flow cytometry), our system can image simultaneously thousands of individual cells, pre-assembled on the surface of a biochip.
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