Decreasing the wait time for HIV-1 testing results in South Africa. 

CLIENT Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies, Northwestern University

PROJECT Rapid Plasma Separator and Single Sample Centrifuge

INDUSTRY Healthcare

ROLE Led team in brainstorming, prototype development, and data analysis

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High-level view of how the current system works. 


South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world. Patients need to have easy access to efficient viral-load testing. Currently, 50% of patients never receive their results. The client has therefore requested a new method of separating plasma that will enhance an existing point-of-care (POC) system. 


The team designed a blood collection device that relies on centrifugation and fluid balance to expel around 150 µL of blood from a 200 µL Sarstedt Minivette into a capsule while retaining around 50 µL of plasma. The team also designed a centrifuge that holds a singular collection device. In addition to performing quantitative testing, two team members traveled to South Africa to perform user testing and observations in South African POC clinics. These members' insight was then incorporated in design iterations of both the centrifuge and collection device in order to best tailor the design towards the user's needs.

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CAD Mock-up of Blood 
Collection Device 

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CAD Mock-up of Single-Sample  Centrifuge 

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Results from Centrifuging

with Ovine Blood


Download the final report here