10th Grade Canadian Student Discovers Better Test For HIV

Nicole Ticea

Nicole Ticea of Vancouver took part of a collaboration program with Simon Fraser University, and while there developed a new test for HIV using Isothermic Nucleic Acid Amplification. A drop of blood is placed on a microchip, which then scans for a specific protein in the viral envelope. The result is a near-instantaneous result from a test that actually scans for the presence of the virus itself, not just antibodies created by the immune system. The best part is that the technology required for this test is already in use and would simply require modifications to scan for HIV. The test still needs to undergo more stringent review to ensure its effectiveness, but a rapid test that would get infected patients analyze and on treatment quicker than ever may be right around the corner.


  1. atomic says

    So “HIV avoider” is the new gay euphemism for “pathetic loser virgin still living in mommy’s basement,” apparently. If you have sex, you are at risk. Condoms are not perfect. Everyone should be tested, and the more accurate, rapid, cost-effective, non-invasive, and discreet the test, the better we all are for it. Going around and saying people choose to be infected with HIV, and claiming you don’t need to be tested, ever, is both scientifically and socially ignorant, which is what happens when you have nothing better to do with your life than to spend your days trolling comment threads because no one would WANT to have sex with you.

  2. Elsewhere1010 says

    See, this kind of thing can happen when you teach actual science (and math, and music, and art) in grade school instead of telling the kids that the earth is 6,000 years old and Jesus rode a dinosaur.

  3. Rich says

    @PETEY Some have no choice. Police, medical professionals, social workers, etc. are all in lines of work where they have higher risk of infections from not only HIV but numerous other diseases. Should we just get rid of all of them so they can “avoid HIV” and put other lives at risk? I think not.

    This is amazing and could be instrumental in helping detect otherwise hidden cases and possibly help those who have been exposed in high risk situations that may not even be aware they had become infected. And if we can better detect it, that’s one step closer to a cure.

  4. BobN says

    I wonder if this test would be instantly reliable (for lack of a better way of putting it). Current testing looks for antibodies, which aren’t always detectable for weeks or months after infection. If this test produced a negative result (couldn’t find HIV virus cells), would that be a certain result?

  5. bkmn says

    Look what happens when you don’t underfund the education system, as we do here in the US. Kids learn and apply their knowledge to make life better for everyone.

  6. says

    While this looks promising, we already have HIV screening methods that can narrow the window period down to about 48 hours after time of infection. The problem, which I would believe could also be an issue with this method, is availability and cost. The large-scale costs of the equipment needed to screen blood for HIV within short window periods are very expensive. Usually (for example with blood donation) batch testing is done to reduce costs. If a positive result occurs from the batch, each contributor to the batch is then screened individually. I hope there is soon a quick screening tool that can reduce the window period significantly and this gives us hope. But currently, implementation of this might be somewhat impractical and problematic.

  7. Buckie says

    Somebody should put together a book with all the news articles about amazing HIV discoveries over the past 30 years.

    That way, when you see an HIV story of the week, you’ll know to just ignore it, because it’s all horse crap, and always has been.

  8. B. Wilson says

    I was going to make most of the same points that Dr. Blackwell made.

    I will say that in BC in particular they already use the most advanced HIV testing technology available on all HIV tests ordered(the kind that Dr. Blackwell mentioned). These tests already search for “pieces of the virus”. These tests include a variety of markers to detect people at all stages of HIV disease. Does this new technology do that or will it just test for r(ecently infected and not for folks once their viral load reduces at seroconversion?

    I am obviously very impressed with this young girls efforts and I do believe that microchip arrays that detect for a variety of illnesses is the future of medicine (as far as screening goes)

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