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Electrochemical Biosensor for the Detection of HIV Enzymes

Background:

Globally, there are 33 million people living with HIV. The earliest symptoms of HIV infection occur when your body begins to form antibodies to the virus between six weeks and three months after infection with the HIV virus. Approximately, 22 million HIV tests are carried out every year in the US. Only by being tested for HIV can you know for sure if you have been infected. The most common method of diagnosing HIV infection is through a combination of tests that detect HIV antibodies in the blood, these include enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and Western Blot tests. These tests are costly, slow and laborious. Furthermore, since these tests must wait for the development of antibodies for detection, people in the early stages of the disease can still be carriers but have a negative HIV antibody test. Clearly, better early diagnostic tools are needed to prevent further spread of this disease.

Description of the Invention:

HIV-related proteins such as HIV-integrase (HIV-1 IN), reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT) and HIV-1 protease (HIV-1 PR), are essential proteins that control the ability of HIV to infect cells, produce new copies of the virus, or cause disease. These enzymes appear in infected individuals well before the production of antibodies. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time the detection of these enzymes at nanomolar levels using ferrocene (Fc)-conjugated peptides on gold microelectrodes. This electrochemical procedure can be readily applied to the multiplexed detection of several HIV-related proteins, as well as the high-throughput screening of HIV inhibitors for AIDS therapy.  No expensive labelling or imaging procedures are needed. This chip-based approach will provide an easy-to-use and low cost alternative to existing methods.

Potential Advantages:

• Early detection of HIV
• Rapid point-of-care testing device
• Blood screening
• High-throughput, multiplexed screening for HIV enzyme inhibitors
• Platform technology for the detection of other aptamer-based enzymes

Potential Applications:

• HIV/AIDS
• Biosensor
• Diagnostic tools
• Inhibitor

Patent Status:

National phase applications filed in Canada, China, Europe and US.

Patent Information:

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