PNA-Detection of Pathogens (U.S. Patent Number 13/592,490)
The laboratory of Daniel Appella, PhD. has developed a prototype HIV testing kit that employs a peptide nucleic acid probe to capture HIV RNA recovered from patient blood. The probe targets a highly conserved segment of the Gag sequence. Initial data from tests run side by side with PCR show high sensitivity and specificity. The test, excluding the cost for an RNA extraction kit, has been calculated to be under $0.70 per sample based on retail price lists for reagents. This is within the cost target suggested by the World Health Organization. It is hoped that the test would be suitable for use in a developing country. While the test has not been optimized, operated as is, the assay would take 3-4 hours providing results while a patient is still at the clinic.