Practical HIV diagnostics are urgently needed in resource-limited settings. While HIV infection can be diagnosed using simple, rapid, lateral flow immunoassays, HIV disease staging and treatment monitoring require accurate counting of a particular white blood cell subset, the CD4+ T lymphocyte. To address the limitations of current expensive, technically demanding and/or time-consuming approaches, we have developed a simple CD4 counting microfluidic device. This device uses cell affinity chromatography operated under differential shear flow to specifically isolate CD4+ T lymphocytes with high efficiency directly from 10 microlitres of unprocessed, unlabeled whole blood. CD4 counts are obtained under an optical microscope in a rapid, simple and label-free fashion. CD4 counts determined in our device matched measurements by conventional flow cytometry among HIV-positive subjects over a wide range of absolute CD4 counts (R2 = 0.93). This CD4 counting microdevice can be used for simple, rapid and affordable CD4 counting in point-of-care and resource-limited settings.
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