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back to article Want to know if that hottie has HIV? Put their blood in the DVD player

Cunning Swedish boffins have come up with a new use for the cheap technology in optical DVD drives: it can be used to carry out complex biochemical tests, even to the point of detecting HIV in a blood sample. See? It is basically a DVD player This isn't hyperbole - an actual DVD player has been converted into a laser scanning …

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Coat

Anti-virus not included?

I suppose I'll be expected to upgrade my blu-ray collection now.

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Pint

Clever

Impressive thinking in coming up with that one.

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Unhappy

Re: Clever

Sadly it looks like the joint developer, Plarion of Cambridge went bust last year, another win for UK industry.

http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/news/plarion-closing-down-sale/

As someone who sells analytical equipment to manufacturers and laboratories, I'd love to have this in my portfolio - that's as long as it does what it says it does.

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Re: Clever

But by the time the device is declared as fit for medical diagnostics, it'll be 30 k$ and it'll be a large "machine that goes ping".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Clever

Does it have to be cleared though? If it errs on the side of caution then it can be used as a cheap preliminary test; if it thinks you might have HIV then you can be tested on the big expensive pingy machine to confirm it.

You know, a bit like how the police do a preliminary blood-alcohol test before you blow in the big machine.

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Re: Clever

A cheap laser scanning microscope is a great idea. Couldn't it be marketed to schools? Or be used for quick analysis of lubricating oil samples? (the number and types of metal particles therein can give advance warning of bearing or gear failures).

I'm not so sure about the HIV testing. I thought that needed an antibody test? Counting the cells in a blood sample might tell you if someone is developing AIDS ... but that happens years after infection with the HIV virus, and the infection can be passed on during that time.

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Devil

Re: Clever

Really impressive bit of kit, and perfectly matched to the completely unsuspicious "I'll put some (sexy) music on while you pour the wine"

However, one major snag - How does one go about asking for a blood sample? Somehow I suspect that "excuse me, could I shove this needle into your finger, since I suspect you might have HIV" could be a bit of a mood-killer.

And obtaining it surreptitiously might get complicated, not to mention legal/privacy issues of "accidentally on purpose" stabbing someone.

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Trollface

Re: Clever

To get a blood sample you need some scratches, use a modified bathroom door handle.

Alternatives include sedatives in the proposed wine. I am sure you can figure a way once you lay hands on the portable tester.

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Anonymous Coward

Getting Blood

If you can wait, there should be a perfectly acceptable blood sample ready within the next 28 days...

Or if they are into the rough stuff, from under your fingernails.

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Re: Clever

If it can be made this simple and potentially even simpler and cheaper still, why shouldn't it be as casual as the sex?

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Re: Clever

For scratches, get a cat, or dog, that has claws. Cat claws appear to be a lot more effective than dog claws, because they don't need a lot of force to cause damage, and when they cause the damage, it's not flesh deep :) Then, under the ruse of helping your target clean the wounds, collect your sample.

For the more geeky inclined, a "babe, I got this modified DVD player that can check for HIV and other cool biological things" remark will most certainly elicit a "awesome! can I try it? we'll eat later" response.

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Re: Clever

until you scratch yourself on the same handle afterwards and find out that yes they were infected and now you may be too

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Pint

Sublime

Listen to Mozart whilst testing for HIV.

Does the music change according to the outcome ?

<-- One of these coming soon, it's Friday

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Yag

Re: Sublime

No, if it's positive, it will still play Mozart... The "Dies irae" probably

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Re: Sublime

And here I thought it'd play 'Everyone has AIDS' from Team America.

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Re: Sublime

Or "You have AIDS" from Family Guy.

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Re: Sublime

If it's positive it plays Beethoven's Fifth.... the "knocking on the gates of hell" Ta-da-da-DUUUUUHH

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Re: Sublime

Or "Everybody's got AIDS" by the Montreal SKA band Me Mom & Morgentaler.

:)

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WTF?

i can see it now...

Sorry baby, my DVD player says you have HIV...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i can see it now...

And if you want a second opinion you can ask the dishwasher

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i can see it now...

Unfortunately, she has HIV too.

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Home Use ??

I suspect that the preparation of a blood sample, spreading it on the DVD and maybe fixing or drying it would be a skilled task, not suitable for home use. I'd like to see more details of how it works in terms of the signal from the scanning laser and how it is interpreted.

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Re: Home Use ??

This appears to be a scanned image of the article, which unfortunately I cannot read (poor eyesight) and frustrates the text-to speech. I would be grateful if someone could read it an comment. on the methodology.

http://www.rsc.org/images/loc/2012/pdf/W.8.177.pdf

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Home Use ??

Looks interesting. They added a second photodetector, and a temperature control unit to minimize the effects of ambient temperature (which can otherwise screw the tests, apparently). The process is currently pretty automated once you've got a sample on the disc, but getting the sample ready is a fairly involved business, taking a couple of hours by people who know what they're doing and have the right equipment. However, they say the next step that they are currently working on is a automated system that will do all that for you. If they can get that sorted, then home use is not impossible, but I'd think its more likely to be something that you'd still want someone with medical training to operate and interpret the results - something your local GP would have at their clinic, that the nurse would operate, for example.

Incidentally, I think you might want to get a better PDF reader, that was a perfectly ordinary PDF, not a photo of the original, it should have been no less readable than any other document.

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Re: Home Use ??

> the preparation of a blood sample, spreading it on the DVD and maybe fixing or drying it

I think that this is a cell sorter, rather than a smear analyzer. I woul have used a disc with a channel or chamber, then an e.g. heparinized drop of blood could be applied to to the inner end and spun out by the rotating disc. Heparin, and any immuno-fluorescent marker could be added via the collection pippette.

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Re: Home Use ??

Direct from PDF:

DVD SYSTEM AND DEVICE DESIGN

We show here that a DVD drive can, with certain modifications, be turned into an improved DVD-based Laser

Scanning Microscope (DVD-LSM) (Fig.1). The DVD-LSM operates in a similar fashion to a standard DVD drive, with the addition of a second photo detector module positioned above the DVD surface. In this way, cells or other absorbance-based reactions on the DVD surface can be detected via the decreased absorbance or scattered light reaching the two photodetectors from the DVD laser light source. Using this principle, we have manufactured a DVD-LSM prototype that incorporates a standard DVD reader with photo detector (detection), rotational control (sample handling), temperature control (optimized bioassay), and software (signal processing).

A simple U-channel design was used to test the surface treatment procedure and verify cell attachment and counting using the integrated software of the prototype instrument (Fig.2-3). The top polycarbonate layer containing the fluidic features is UV-bonded to the bottom multilayer disc that is pre-functionalized with epoxy-silane. To incorporate a capture-based biological assay onto the DVD platform, the surface of DVD discs were first functionalized to enable the deposition of neutravidin. Briefly, DVD disc were first incubated with a neutravidin solution for 30 minutes, followed by washing with washing buffers. Afterwards, streptavidin-coated beads were used to test the fuctionalization and to evaluate the imaging capabilities of the system. Furthermore, for cell-based experiments, neutravidin was covalently attached to the epoxy-silanized DVD discs by a standard bio-conjugation protocol followed by deposition of antibodies

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Re: Home Use ??

@AC 07:40

> that was a perfectly ordinary PDF, not a photo of the original

Thanks very much -- it was a browser thing. When I downloaded the pdf I was both able to open it with "less" (which rendered the text readable), and listen to it with "Jovie" (KDE). I will know better next time.

Thanks again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: dealbreaker

Darling can I take a blood sample to check you don't have HIV.

Your coat? You're surely not leaving so soon?

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Re: Home Use ??

Ditch/disable the stupid Browser PDF plugin and save the PDF, then open in Foxit or Adobe Reader or Ghostviewer

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Does it have to be blood?

Or would a modified game of public school favourite 'soggy biscuit' also be viable? Just thinking how you get a blood sample as casually as some other more freely given ones

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Anonymous Coward

DVD Laser - Read and Write?

Hmmm... possibilities are endless. Ingenious.

Hope the Write facility is turned off on a positive result! - a rerun of "Logan's Run" is the last thing we need!

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Childcatcher

Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

The pregnancy stick came first.

Next, a HIV test may become available.

Just missing a miniature ultrasound scanner for either a temporary sterilisation or seeing how the bun in the oven is doing.

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Re: Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

Home HIV test is already available! I vaguely remembered reading about it - Google found this http://www.hivhometests.co.uk/ and many other similar (including Wal-Mart in the USA!)

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Coat

Re: Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

"The pregnancy stick came first."

If you're using a Home Pregnancy Test then I'll wager that the man came first...

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Re: Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

There is an FDA approved home HIV test kit available in the USA. It isn't actually a test kit, it is a blood sample collection kit which is express mailed back. The actual testing is done by the lab and you call in for the results. In the USA most health insurance does not cover HIV testing. Getting tested at your doctor's office often costs around $300. You can get free or low cost testing at various organizations, but can be a hassle. Personally I think lack of health insurance coverage for HIV testing borders on criminal.

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Happy

Hmm...

But what if you use Region 2 blood in a Region 1 player?

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Facepalm

Re: Hmm...

use a crack or a rip (ouch)?

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Coat

So in order...

For the initial test you must insert First Blood

For a second opinion, First Blood part II

I'll be in the bar.

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Alert

Shatter!

So a CD / DVD covered in potentially disgusting filthy AIDS blood get loaded into a player. Due to a power surge the player spins at 100k rpm and shatters the media. The poor lab assistant then gets riddled with bits of DVD covered with AIDS .. NICE ;-)

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Re: Shatter!

You seem to be describing a DVD player with a direct-drive motor powered by a simple rectifier and capacitor PSU. Home-made jobbie?

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Re: Shatter!

Seriously, if you've ever wondered why the fastest CD rate is 56x, this is why. Early in the development of computer CD drives, they marketed a 64x drive and maybe even a 72x drive. I was once sprayed with plastic shrapnel by one of the 64x drives. The manufacturers soon worked out that 56x was the safety limit of what a CD can take.

Anyone know if anyone ever suffered actual injury and/or sued?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shatter!

Even if it did, the viruses would be destroyed. HIV is incredibly sensitive to temperature and pH changes, so the temperature change that happens as the sample is dried would cause the viruses to disintegrate. Once that happened, it would not be infectious (for HIV). It would, however, be a risk for nearly any other blood-borne disease like hepatitis, for example.

When viral load is measured, they are counting FRAGMENTS of viruses, not viruses, because it’s impossible to test it quickly enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shatter!

It happened to me too but I didn't sue as I was loading a not quite legit copy of windows at the time.

I thought it was Microsoft's new antipiracy measures for a second or two.

I wasn't injured bit the dvdr/w play lacked a read head afterwards

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Re: Shatter!

Yeah that's the one. I forget people don't really have a sense of humour on here though. Not like a few years ago.

Whilst it is an impressive bit of kit the, it is also boring. I was trying to make it more exciting by imagining some tech getting AIDS from it (apparently the HIV virus isn't very durable however) or even better still some zombie related illness.

Could it be modified to fire out spinning metal tungsten-carbide disks impregnated with the T-Virus from the resident evil movies? That would be far more exciting.

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Re: Shatter!

Seriously, if you've ever wondered why the fastest CD rate is 56x, this is why. Early in the development of computer CD drives, they marketed a 64x drive and maybe even a 72x drive. I was once sprayed with plastic shrapnel by one of the 64x drives. The manufacturers soon worked out that 56x was the safety limit of what a CD can take.

Anyone know if anyone ever suffered actual injury and/or sued?

This is a near-myth.

The speed was limited to 56x because the maxium RPM at those read rates (at the outer edge of the disk) was as high as it could get and still have a stable disk. A *bit* faster than that, needed special disk handling to ensure it didn't wobble, and faster than that - you couldn't read a disk at all because of the excessive wobble.

Drives that claim 72x, actually have a number of read lasers going at the same time (7 from memory), collates all the data, orders it correctly to make it appear that it's being sequencially read, then sent to the interface. From memory, they actually read at *native* 10x (to remain reliable), but the multiple lasers effectively give you 70-odd times. Wikipedia claims these drives were few and far between, very expensive, and offered some compatibility issues.

Drives nowadays have software sensors that forcibly reduce the read speed if the disk is cracked, distorted or otherwise can't be read for whatever reason. Driving a damaged disk to full drive speed is near impossible, and in the slim chance that it does happen AND it cracks and falls apart, the drive is enclosed, so no-one gets injured in any way. If you operate a drive without the cover, then the fault is entirely yours, you can't sue anyone for your own stupidity - for either mild "testing", or more dramatic MythBusters style testing.

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Boffin

From the Wikipedia page on HIV testing:

"The CD4 T-cell count is not an HIV test, but rather a procedure where the number of CD4 T-cells in the blood is determined.

A CD4 count does not check for the presence of HIV. It is used to monitor immune system function in HIV-positive people. Declining CD4 T-cell counts are considered to be a marker of progression of HIV infection."

So your hottie could be in the early stages of infection which has not yet lowered her CD4 cell count and still be infectious.

And besides, wouldn't the deployment of a latex/silicone tube not be a much cheaper solution to the doubt? or are you inclined to sexual activities that involve the exchange of blood?

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So many questions

Your headline alone raises so many questions...

- "They"? How many of them do you expect there to be???

- Oh yes, I remember now: that's "gender-neutral" language. Mustn't rule out the possibility that the "hottie" is a nice young bloke.

- Blood???? Which subset of your readers is this aimed at - Dexter?

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Re: So many questions

It is a terrible, terrible insight into Lewis Page's personal life. Or else written by a sub-editor, if The Register has those. Probably that guy whose habit of taking small blood samples from social acquaintances has got him known as "The Willesden Prick".

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Thumb Up

Impressive!

Pave the way for remote diagnostics!

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Anonymous Coward

This is NOT an HIV detection test!

Everyone seems to be confused about the nature of this test. CD4+ counting is a test done on people ALREADY KNOWN to be HIV+. The CD4+ cells are the “foot soldiers” of the immune system, and are directed by the CD8+ cells, “the generals.” CD4+ and CD8+ are both targeted and destroyed by HIV; the normal ranges of CD4+ are 400–1000 cells/mL, and if the count drops below 200, the patient is at risk of many secondary infections (and may, for example, take precautionary antibiotics until their system strengthens).

Do the only way this test will reveal an undiagnosed case, is if the infection has already sprung into high gear and the CD4+ count has already been decimated. This is what happened to me; I was infected in 2001 when I was raped' over the nest 3.5 years I took six HIV tests which were faulty and all reported negative; these tests were removed from the market in late 2004, right when I was diagnosed. At that point I had a CD4+ count so low they had to run the test THREE TIMES because they could not find ANY CD4+ at all; ultimately they said, “<10”. My CD4+ count is now almost 600 — the medicines WORK.

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