A blood test’s overall accuracy can be vital to early, life-saving treatment in various conditions. Diagnostics have come a long way, but current limitations can still delay detection in cases where low levels of infection are present.
New tests using nanodiamonds in place of other materials appear to dramatically improve the results, making it possible to detect numerous infections far earlier than currently possible. Check this out.
One of the most widely used blood tests to detect infection is called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This method amplifies the sample’s genetic material, making it easier to detect smaller numbers of a given target. Which isn't that important, just know it helps detect infections.
This test is not perfect, however, and accuracy may suffer in some cases. When early detection is crucial to planning the most effective disease management, such as for those who have HIV or compromised immune function, an accuracy level of even 88% can lead to far too many false readings and may even put lives at risk. False-positive results can be stressful and may lead to unnecessary treatment; false-negative results can be even more devastating via the effects of delayed action. But it's what we've got so it's what we use. But that may soon change.
Nanotechnology could take current methods to a whole new level of accuracy.
New tests utilizing nanoparticles may find infections when only traces of viruses or bacteria are present. The initial applications have used silver and gold nanoparticles to amplify genetic material’s visibility, making it easier to spot. Improved detection could significantly reduce the frequency of false results. But this gets better.
The use of precious metals was a good start, but researchers might have found an even better material in nanodiamonds. These microscopic particles have demonstrated the ability to detect HIV RNA with only a single molecule of the virus present in a sample.
Even better, researchers believe they may be able to adapt this new technology to work with smartphones and similar devices, which could make future diagnostics more broadly accessible and more reliable — not to mention faster.
We could soon see a leap in disease diagnostics, which might lead to better overall treatment outcomes. More research is currently underway, but earlier, more accurate tests may soon become the norm. The future in disease detection could be just around the corner — and it looks like it sparkles.
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