DVD HIV Testing

Incredible new tech:

Aman Russom, senior lecturer at the School of Biotechnology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, says that his research team converted a commercial DVD drive into a laser scanning microscope that can analyse blood and perform cellular imaging with one-micrometre resolution. The breakthrough creates the possibility of an inexpensive and simple-to-use tool that could have far-reaching benefits in health care in the developing world.

Ashley Feinberg applauds:

Standard HIV testing already uses a laser-based method called flow cytometry to count the CD4 cells (a low count of which would be an indicator of the disease). But access to these kinds of tests—with machines costing upwards of $30,000—has been highly limited in the developing countries that need it most. By contrast, the Lab-on-DVD units, could be mass-produced and sold for less than $200. Plus, these relics of media yesteryear are far more portable.

Equally amazing is the sheer realization that technology has advanced to the point where, even when on the verge of being outdated in one field, just a few tweaks can redirect it towards an incredible, innovative, and medically astounding task in another.