Tuberculosis (TB) is the main cause of death among HIV/AIDS patients worldwide. One of the main hurdles to effectively tackle this issue is the difficulty posed by the accurate molecular diagnostics of TB in HIV+ individuals. Also, the WHO recommends that all TB patients be screened for HIV infection. As such, there is a global need for fast and accurate detection platforms for TB/HIV that are non-invasive and might reduce the economic burden of current molecular assays.
Our project aims at the development of a platform coupling magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) for the specific molecular enrichment of sputum samples from suspected HIV/TB patients. By using selective and specific capture molecules grafted on MNP, it will be possible to capture Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and secreted anti-HIV antibodies in the sample, which will improve the efficacy of the downstream detection assays currently approved by the WHO.
The Gilead Genese Prize will be instrumental for the construction of the capture MNPs and validation of molecular assays on patient samples. This endeavor is only possible due to the long-lasting collaboration between IHMT-NOVA TB Group lead by Miguel Viveiros and João Piedade for HIV and the Nanomedicine Group lead by Pedro V. Baptista at UCIBIO, Dept of Life Sciences, FCT-NOVA.
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