Friday, November 04, 2011

Invention of the Day: HIV detection test.

Recently, in Stanford vs Roche, the United States Supreme Court decided the ownership of three seminal patents that cover HIV test methods. Here's Fig. 1 from patent 5,968,730 showing HIV indicators for treated and untreated patients.

Claim One of the patent can serve as a template for any Detection/Control invention:
1. A method of evaluating the effectiveness of anti-HIV therapy of a patient comprising:
(i) collecting a plasma sample from an HIV-infected patient who is being treated with an antiretroviral agent;
(ii) amplifying the HIV-encoding nucleic acid in the plasma sample using HIV primers in about 30 cycles of PCR; and
(iii) testing for the presence of HIV-encoding nucleic acid, in the product of the PCR;
in which the absence of detectable HIV-encoding nucleic acid correlates positively with the conclusion that the antiretroviral agent is therapeutically effective. 

Translating from Patentese into English (the order of steps is changed to facilitate understanding):

Step 1: take a sample from the object you want to know about.
Step 3: detect the "aboutness" indicator.
Step 2: because the indicator is weak, amplify it to make testing easier.
Step 4: based on the indicator, make conclusions about the object.

Simple, beautiful, and infinitely useful.

tags: detection, control, system, patent, example, health

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