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Tiny DNA ‘machine’ could cut HIV diagnosis cost

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New York: Researchers have designed and synthesised a nanometer-scale DNA “machine” that can make the process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV much cheaper.

Their new approach promises to support the development of rapid, low-cost antibody detection at the point-of-care, thereby eliminating the treatment initiation delays.

“One of the advantages of our approach is that it is highly versatile,” said senior co-author of the study Francesco Ricci from University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

“This DNA nanomachine can be in fact custom-modified so that it can detect a huge range of antibodies, this makes our platform adaptable for many different diseases,” Ricci said.

The binding of the antibody to the DNA machine causes a structural change (or switch), which generates a light signal.

The sensor does not need to be chemically activated and is rapid – acting within five minutes – enabling the targeted antibodies to be easily detected, even in complex clinical samples such as blood serum.

“Our modular platform provides significant advantages over existing methods for the detection of antibodies,” professor Alexis Vallee-Belisle from University of Montreal in Canada noted.

“It is rapid, does not require reagent chemicals, and may prove to be useful in a range of different applications such as point-of-care diagnostics and bioimaging,” Vallee-Belisle said.

“Another nice feature of our this platform is its low-cost,” professor Kevin Plaxco of the University of California, Santa Barbara, US, pointed out.

“The materials needed for one assay cost about 15 cents, making our approach very competitive in comparison with other quantitative approaches,” Plaxco said.

The findings were detailed in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

 

(IANS)

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Any Level of Alcohol Consumption Can Weaken Bones of HIV Patients

Even little drinking can weaken bones of people with HIV

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Any level of alcohol consumption for people living with HIV can raise the risk of developing osteoporosis. Pixabay

Any level of alcohol consumption for people living with HIV can weaken bones, raising the risk of osteoporosis, a new study has said. This is the latest health news.

The researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and School of Medicine (BUSM) did not find an amount of alcohol consumption that appeared ‘safe’ for bone metabolism in people living with HIV.

“As you get older, your ability to maintain adequate bone formation declines. These findings suggest that for people with HIV, alcohol may make this more difficult,” said Dr Theresa W. Kim, assistant professor at BUSM in a paper published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Low bone density is common among people living with HIV, even those who have successfully suppressed their viral loads with antiretroviral therapy.

The finding highlights an under-recognized circumstance in which people with HIV infection often find themselves.

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Low bone density is common among people living with HIV, even those who have successfully suppressed their viral loads with antiretroviral therapy. Pixabay

“Their viral load can be well controlled by efficacious medications while other health conditions and risks that commonly co-occur — like substance use and other medical conditions — are less well-addressed,” said Dr Richard Saitz, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH.

The researchers used data from 198 participants in the Boston ARCH cohort that included people living with HIV and current or past alcohol or drug use disorder.

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For the current study, the researchers analyzed participants’ blood samples, looking at biomarkers associated with bone metabolism (a life-long process of absorbing old bone tissue and creating new bone tissue) and a biomarker associated with recent alcohol consumption.

“If I were counseling a patient who was concerned about their bone health, besides checking vitamin D and recommending exercise, I would caution them about alcohol use,” said Kim. (IANS)