HIV was once considered a death sentence, but thanks to advances in modern medicine, people with HIV who receive proper medical care can live to their country’s average life expectancy. Although it’s now possible to live a full and healthy life with HIV, HIV positive people must be monitored closely to ensure that they are not developing any disorders or infections that could lead to poor health or a full-blown AIDS diagnosis.
Undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART), used to normalize CD4+ cell count and improve immune function, can have serious side effects. In fact, the continued use of ART can lead to the development of metabolic disorders like hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes.
Ongoing metabolic monitoring using blood tests is crucial throughout the treatment process. Researchers are testing the use of FTIR analysis as a cost-effective alternative to traditional metabolic analysis methods.
Current Metabolic Testing Methods
Current metabolomics (the study of chemical processes involving substances involved in or necessary for metabolism) analysis options for HIV/AIDS patients include Mass Spectrometry (MS) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). These two methods measure metabolite levels which indicate the development of treatment side effects.
The drawbacks of MS and NMR are that they are, in many cases, prohibitively expensive, and require expert knowledge and special equipment to conduct.
Using FTIR Analysis for HIV Monitoring
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, also known as FTIR analysis, is a materials analysis technique used to identify unknown materials by analyzing infrared wavelength frequencies absorbed by a sample. A recently released study set out to prove that FTIR may be a cost-effective tool to analyze sample serum from HIV patients for metabolic changes and to detect biomarkers of HIV infection and ART treatment.
The study used a specially designed Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) attachment to modify the spectra. The results of the study concluded that the quicker, cheaper, and reagent free FTIR analysis may serve as a complementary tool to MS and NMR. For instance preliminary metabolic tests could be performed using FTIR analysis; MS or NMR could then be used if further sample analysis were required.
Although Innovatech Labs does not offer metabolic testing services, we use FTIR analysis for a variety of commercial applications including contamination testing, quality control and materials analysis.
For more information about FTIR analysis, read about how it helps solve manufacturing mysteries.