The team of five BioE students researched in the lab of Xuanhong Cheng with generous help from professors Susan Perry, Yevgeny Berdichevsky, Chao Zhou, and Steven McIntosh.
There were 59 eligible entries received from 30 universities in 18 different states. The first place team will receive $20,000.
The project, Viral Diagnostic Technology, addresses the need for a more accessible point-of-care viral load diagnostic device for HIV treatment monitoring. A majority of people living with HIV reside in resource-limited settings where traditional laboratory-based tests are not accessible. Current point-of-care technologies in the market or under development remain expensive and complex. The team developed a system that meets the World Health Organization’s minimum detection requirements while also delivering results in under an hour. In addition, it involves lower instrumentation and pre-test costs and is less complex than other currently available technologies available. This device can help determine if a patient’s medications are having the desired effect of decreasing the amount of virus in the bloodstream. The design has the potential to increase accessibility to viral load testing globally.
DEBUT is a biomedical engineering design competition for teams of undergraduate students, managed by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of NIH. The judging was based on four criteria: the significance of the problem being addressed; the impact on clinical care; the innovation of the design; and the existence of a working prototype.